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RUSH Festival D’ete De Quebec – Review

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RUSH Festival D’ete De Quebec – Review

Rush - Cred: Tee Onek

Geddy Lee – Cred: Jeff Nolan

FROM: Toronto, ON
WHERE: Bell Stage, Les Plaines D’Abraham, Festival D’Ete De Quebec, Quebec City, Qc
WHEN: Wednesday July 10, 2013


[starreviewmulti id=3 tpl=20]
Set 1:
The Big Money
Force Ten
Grand Designs
The Analog Kid
Where’s My Thing?
(including drum solo)
Far Cry
Set 2: (with Clockwork Angels String Ensemble)
Clockwork Angels
The Anarchist
The Wreckers
Headlong Flight
(including drum solo)
Halo Effect
(including guitar solo)
Seven Cities of Gold
The Garden

A torrential downpour and thunderstorm warning cut the Rush set short last night but not before the band gave the Quebec crowd a strong 18 song set. “We have 1000 songs to play for you tonight” Said Geddy Lee “Let’s hope the rain stays away”.

STYLE: Legendary Classic/Prog Rock pioneers 

CROWD: It was a full house last night at Les Plaines D’Abraham.   The festival did a great job of setting up multiple VIP zones which made it feel busy without being claustrophobic.   There was a Molson Dry ‘win to get in’ stage directly above FOH (front of house main sound control).     In front of the stage there was a narrow area between the photo pit and the VIP area called “The Zone” area where you needed a special pass.     Behind the VIP area there was a raised tent which was a Casino de Charlevoix members club.   On the other end of the field there were some sponsored VIP areas.   Then there was of course the general entrance area which took up the largest amount of space.    The more interesting thing about all of this was the vantage points.   No matter where you stood, you were almost guaranteed a good view of the stage.   Les Plaines D’Abraham slopes upwards towards the back which works almost like a natural amphitheater, creating great views and fantastic acoustics even from very far vantage points.   Nice site lines and great acoustics helped to make a large group of die hard fans very happy, especially when you’re dealing with the musical complexities of RUSH.    The crowd largely consisted of Quebec residents and varied from teenagers and twenty somethings all the way up to retired couples.    If there was ever a question about RUSH and their current appeal in 2013, this crowd answers the question with: Across the board!

TECHNICALITIES:  The Stage provided by Unisson Structures was built to withstand the winds on the Plains.  Standing 85 ft tall and 225 ft wide it was an overwhelming site to see.  Lighting and sound provided by Solotech was second to none.   The audio was crystal clear from all angles and it sounded full without being harsh or abrasive.   This was one of the best sounding shows I’ve ever attended.    The lighting and other visuals were totally top notch as expected.    Moving LCD screens rotated above the band and video effects and transitions were mixed in real time with pre-programmed footage which highlighted themes from their latest effort Clockwork Angels.    Some strange props adorned the stage including a popcorn machine with lighting schemes highlighting various elements throughout the set.     There were a few pyro moments that caught me off guard making me wish I had my ear plugs in.    It seemed as though the visuals were just getting started before the show was cut short by the rain.   I heard from an inside source that the band did not want to cut the set short.   In spite of the rain they insisted on continuing, however once it got to the point where crowds were scattering for shelter and weather was a safety concern someone made the decision to cut it.

IMAGE:  The band hasn’t changed their image much over the years.   It’s RUSH: always has been and always should be about the music.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS: Five songs into the set RUSH broke into the instantly recognizable timeless classic “Limelight.   Next the band brought us back to 1988 with Territories and then decided to take us back even a little further. “We would like to travel back in time 30 years to our ‘Signals’ album which was actually recorded in Quebec.  This is a song from from that album called The Analog Kid” -said Geddy Lee.  The true RUSH fans in attendance started to cheer and as the band played on it became clear to everyone that they were at a RUSH concert.

There were scattered moments of brilliance with the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble which featured tracks from their latest effort 2012’s Clockwork Angles.

Another moment worth mentioning was what Geddy Lee said before they took an intermission:  “We have to take a break because we are very old ‘tres vieux’,  but we’ll be back don’t go away” – Said Geddy as they closed out their first set.   It was sort of ironic seeing as they had just given us a very energy driven and intense first half.


COMMENTS:   This was one of the most organized concerts I’ve ever been to.   Our passes were scanned when entering and exiting each area.    The security were very polite, spoke English and French fluently but they were firm when they needed to be.    There were plenty of places to buy alcohol with very little waiting time.   There were also servers walking amongst the crowds in the VIP areas offering fresh beverages every 15mins.  The always important washrooms issue was a non issue, as there were virtually no wait times to find one of the many portable washrooms scattered throughout the venue. The sound and lighting was second to none and one of the best sounding concerts I’ve ever heard (yes I had to mention this twice).     There was undoubtedly more pyro and lights in store last night and months of planning had to be left on the table due to mother nature.      Ironically the storm died down just minutes after the show was cut, however it was too late to re-start.    Overall it was well worth it and the fans we spoke to agreed.


Alex LifesonCrowd at Rush ConcertFans at Rush ConcertFans at RUSHGeddy and Neil RUSHGeddy Lee rushGeddy LeeNeil PeartSign at Rush Concert


Review: Darrell Shelley
Photos: Jeff Nolan
Assistant: Vivian Ng


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