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RSH TIME MACHINE TOR Concert Pictures
UTEP Don Haskins Center -- El Paso, TX - June 14th, 2011
The "Time Machine 2011" Tour spanned from March 30th through July 2nd, 2011
|Tour Dates| --- |Set List|
"Rush brings 'Time Machine' tour to Don Haskins Center tonight"
Normally, KLAQ DJ Glenn Garza takes listeners backstage for meet-and-greets with their bands that perform here.
"I'm doing this one," said Courtney Nelson, the rock station's program director. "I'm pulling rank."
Nelson is an avowed fan of Rush, which brings its "Time Machine" tour to the Don Haskins Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Rush is expected to perform two career-spanning sets Tuesday night, stretching about 25 songs over a three-hour period.
"It will be nothing but Rush, which true fans will appreciate," said Jorge Vazquez, interim director of UTEP's Haskins Center. "How many times do you get artists to sing everything?"
They'll be hard-pressed to do that, but this tour, which launched June 29 in Albuquerque and ends July 2 in George, Wash., has been featuring hits such as "Freewill" and "Subdivisions" and two songs from its in-progress "Clockwork Angels" album.
Its big selling point, though, is the inclusion of all eight songs from "Moving Pictures," the 1981 album on which the band -- singer-bassist-keyboardist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer-lyricist Neil Peart -- came into its own creatively and elevated its game commercially, selling 4 million copies in the United States alone.
Nelson and about 7,000 other fans can't wait. It's the first Rush album that caught his ear 30 years ago.
"I remember everyone making a big fuss about this band called Rush, which has this cool song called 'Tom Sawyer,' then 'Limelight,' and I thought, 'What's this all about?' " said Nelson, who worked in San Diego at the time. "I began listening closer in my radio travels and really became a big fan."
He's eager to see and hear "Moving Pictures" -- a deluxe CD/DVD edition of which was released in April -- in its entirety.
"My favorites are 'Tom Sawyer,' 'Limelight' and 'YYZ,' " Nelson said. "I really like those, but seeing the whole thing all the way through, it's just going to be a great experience. We listen to the album all the way through, over and over, and now we get to see them do it in front of us."
He's bringing his 11-year-old son, Courtney Nelson IV, to the show, which will feature eight semi trucks' worth of sound, stage and light equipment, according to Vazquez. "Court" became a Rush fan after watching the DVD of "Rush: Beyond the Stage," the critically acclaimed 2010 documentary by Sam Dunn and Scott McFadyen.
"He knew Rush was big when he saw them on 'South Park,' " Nelson said with a laugh, referring to a recent episode of the satirical animated show in which the Canadian band plays a vigil for a "Canadian princess."
When a band's been around for nearly 40 years -- Peart joined Lee and Lifeson in 1974 -- it reaches a certain iconic status. Certainly Rush, which has released 18 studio albums and numerous live albums and DVDs, is iconic.
It has sold more than 40 million albums, written some of rock's most recognizable songs (including "Closer to the Heart," "Freewill" and "Tom Sawyer"), won numerous awards (but not induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- yet) and found new audiences through appearances in the "Rock Band" video game series, Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" and a cameo in the 2009 movie "I Love You, Man."
"They haven't lost their essence or their sound," UTEP's Vazquez said. "People appreciate that."
Despite the adoration of passionate fans who dissect every note and follow every move (rushisaband.com is a good fan site), and critics who praise Peart's lyrical profundities and band arrangements, the trio has stayed humble.
"We're just a band. We're middle-class kids who grew up," guitarist Lifeson told Time Out New York magazine last year.
They were kids from suburban Toronto when he formed the first version of Rush in 1968. Lee -- he of the high-pitched wail -- joined soon after. Peart replaced the original drummer shortly after the release of their debut album, "Rush," in 1974.
The band's sound has evolved from the blues-based metal of its early days to the more sophisticated, multilayered rock for which it's best known. The trio has survived by keeping its focus on the music and their friendships, but it almost ended in the late 1990s when Peart's daughter and wife died a year apart.
They returned with a new appreciation for each other and what they do collectively.
"We really enjoy each other's company," Lifeson told Time Out New York. "It's a combination of things. We love writing together. Why it turned out that way, I don't know. It's a meeting of different currents."
After the tour ends, the band plans to complete "Clockwork Angels," which should be out next year. A live DVD filmed April 15 in Cleveland, where they tasted their first radio success in the U.S, could be out this fall.
Peart sounds like he can't wait to get back into the studio.
"It was hard for me to set the album aside to tour, this really means a lot to me," he told Britain's Classic Prog Rock magazine last month. "I intend it to be my highest achievement lyrically and drumming-wise, so I really want to get it done while we still can."
-Doug Pullen \ El Paso Times
The following photos are courtesy of Kevin Millette
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