OK, first off: Montage Mountain is becoming a terrible place to see a show. Well, not a terrible place to see it, just a terrible place to get to and fro. On the way up to Scranton, we got bottlenecked for an hour due to I-81 construction (which I should have looked for before we made the trip – we could have gotten around it faster) and stopped at a Wilkes-Barre Outback to meet up with Kevin and have dinner before the show. After our steaks, we did the familiar crawl up Montage Mountain, and similar to 2004, we were placed in inconvenient bulk parking. More on that later.

The show? The show was great. Spoilers follow…

The show opened up with a funny short starring our beloved heroes. First Alex wakes up from a nightmare about snakes & arrows and realizes he’s in bed with… Neil! Then we find that what we just saw was Geddy’s dream, and he gets a visit from a Scot played by himself. Funny stuff. These guys can do comedy.

They played lots of old (and some rare) stuff before they even touched the new material. I got just a bare whiff of what would be played when I saw someone talk about Geddy playing his Jaco signature bass on “Malignant Narcissism” and his old Rickenbacker on “A Passage to Bangkok”, which showed up in the encore. Apparently they have a fixed setlist so far this tour (reflected also in the fact that the tour book lists background video credits by song). From the Power Windows site (my ticket’s image is the one on file for the Scranton show), with my comments:

  • Limelight
  • Digital Man (I was blown away by this. They rearranged it to make it shorter, but it worked great.)
  • Entre Nous (Couldn’t believe this. I think it’s the first time they’ve played it live.)
  • Mission (My favorite HYF track)
  • Freewill
  • The Main Monkey Business
  • The Larger Bowl (with excellent McKenzie Brothers intro)
  • Secret Touch
  • Circumstances (Look around the web for bass tablature for this song. šŸ˜‰ )
  • Between The Wheels
  • Dreamline

-Intermission- (w/ video intro)

  • Far Cry
  • Workinā€™ Them Angels
  • Armor And Sword (Probably my current non-instrumental S&A favorite.)
  • Spindrift
  • The Way The Wind Blows
  • Subdivisions
  • Natural Science
  • Witch Hunt (This was great to see again.)
  • Malignant Narcissism
  • Drum Solo
  • Hope
  • Summertime Blues
  • The Spirit of Radio
  • Tom Sawyer (with South Park intro; Cartman comes up with new lyrics)

Encore:

  • One Little Victory
  • A Passage to Bangkok (excellent!)
  • YYZ

I really need to invest in a pair or two of musician-grade earplugs. My ears are fine today, but I think I would have heard the music a bit better if I had plugs in. I heard Geddy’s bass and vocals fine, but the guitars were a bit harsh and distorted. Next time I’m in Guitar Center, I’ll pick some up.

I really liked the S&A stuff live. I enjoyed “Secret Touch” from Vapor Trails as well. These guys rock. I was constantly watching Geddy, made easier by the fact that we were sitting on the stage-left side of the venue.

Short story is: these guys are still one of the best concert deals around. Two hours, 45 minutes of music and all the video, lights, and lasers continue to make Rush a first-class production. If you like the music, you owe it to yourself to see them at least once every tour!

Back to the venue (the Pavilion at Montage Mountain): we had to wait over an hour and a half to get out of parking and back onto the highway. Simply unacceptable. Seeing Rush at Montage Mountain is no longer a slam-dunk for me; I’m going to look into other venues next tour.

Update: MSM coverage: CitizensVoice Wilkes-Barre Times Leader