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I would just post a link, however they don't put their reviews on line. (not friends-locked for my friends who actually have a life without livejournal!)

Milosevic. Saddam. And now Rush.
From Sept 6, 2007 edition of The Other Paper, by John Petric

During Rush's well-attended Sunday night show at Germain Amphitheater, the Canadian super trio violated good taste on every level: gauche, aimless song architecture that stands as the sonic equivalent of Gladys Presley's dream outhouse; jejune lyrics designed to appear wise to the foolish and deep to the shallow; and ridiculous artwork from its album covers and videos (flashing on three large screens behind the band) that recalled Hitler's surrealist period as an unemployed painter.

So much for the group's reputation as rock's premier thinking man's band.

Kicking off at 7:45 p.m. with no opener (a sure sign you're in for a long and painful night), the vacuous ones romped through the Rush archives, moving from "Hold Your Fire" and "Digital Man" to "Spirit of Radio." The American fans cheered in ecstacy as the men from the land of one billion boring pine trees plied their faux-highbrow rock.

Meanwhile, the video screens behind them showcased idiot-savant artwork pathetically short on the savant. One animation featured a baby carriage, perched precariously on the edge of a gloomy waterfront, suddenly flying off into the horizon--although not before being struck by lightning. What in the hell did this mean? And would we care if we knew? Needless to say, the slide show devolved even further as the night proceeded.

Ditto Rush's lyrics. During "Tom Sawyer," the band's self-flattering portrait of themselves as rugged individualists, I listened closely to the following: "Today's Tom Sawyer/he gets high on you/and the space he invades/he gets by on you." Mark Twain, please retain legal counsel and sue from the grave.

Worse still was "A Larger Bowl (A Pantoume)," a pretentious song illuminating the difference between prosperous and failed societies. It asks, "If we're so much the same like I always hear/Why such different fortunes and fates?" Memo to all aspiring rockers: Free-market economics isn't a subject that makes for great rhyme schemes.

The song goes on to observe, "Some are blessed and some are cursed"--superstitious drivel that makes a mockery of the ultra-rational image Rush has tried to create for itself over the years. (This from a band who won't "rent" their minds "to any God or government.")

Instrumentally, these guys are supposed to be viruousic [sic] musical studs. But that wasn't the prevailing truth at Germain, as guitarist Alex Lifeson barely registered on the Pete Townsend Richter scale. (Being Canadian will tend to sap one's manhood.) He really screwed up on his solos, spewing a herd of screaming high-notes whose collective sound suggested Sebastian Bach with a Roman candle up his arse.

Geddy Lee, bassist and putrid vocalist extraordinaire, was mixed a tad low, volume-wise. But his high-pitched, who-goosed-the-moose vocals still managed to carry Rush's peculiar blend of speculative-fantasy-meets-touristy-humanism lyrics through the late summer air. Meanwhile, on the huge screens flanking the stage, Lee's not-so-videogenic features made him resemble some kind of unholy love child produced by U2's Bono and a proboscis monkey.

Which brings us to Rush's drummer, Neil Peart--undeniably the most preposterously overrated stickman in the history of rock music. He certainly didn't play with his alleged trademark pizzazz on Sunday. Sure, he drummed and drummed. And then he drummed some more. Many drums were hit. But c'mon, this guy's no Ginger Baker or Keith Moon. He's not even a Mighty Max Weinberg. He's got no style and little content--which, come to think of it, could be Rush's mantra.

Frankly, Peart was so unexciting that I was mystified to see so many concertgoers aping his playing in real time. Row upon row of beer-gutted, balding middle managers who've never missed a mortgage payment or cheated on their wives air-drummed as if their lives depended on it. (The crowd was about 10,000 strong, although one might place the tally closer to 15,000 on account of obesity. It was a sight worthy of sociological study).

Rush did evoke what I call the Blink 182 effect, named after the frat-band trio that was conceived for the sole purpose of stealing Green Day's thunder. I saw those worthless suckwads a few years ago at Germain, up close, and experienced viscerally how they'd matured into a demonically powerful threesome, though their music still sucked.

Similarly, Rush played well together, chugging along like a band operating under one mind, however half-witted it might be. Up close in the lower pavilion, the bass felt good in the solar plexus and the songs moved along thick and hard. Later, during the second half, I watched from the lawn. Here the total experience came through. Each song was exactly the sum of its parts.

Regrettably, that sum was a negative, a pukey downer, especially when the band delved into material from Snakes and Arrows, their new album. I prayed for the earth to open and swallow me. Rush is one big atrocity that needs to be held accountable in the Hague for crimes against music.

There's also a picture of the three (although it does not actually appear to be from the columbus show, interestingly enough) with the caption "A negative, pukey downer Rush

for contrast, here's the review from The Columbus Dispatch

Rush's engine still running strong
Monday, September 3, 2007 12:56 AM
By Curtis Schieber


Photo Gallery
To see Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart rock out, click here. The Rush concert last night In the Germain Amphitheater recalled a friend's story about the Canadian band's hit 1976 album "2112": Out for a ride with a 16 year-old friend, the two were in an accident. The passenger's knee rammed into the eight-track player, lodging Rush's album in the unit for the lifetime of the car. If it runs still, it'll be playing "2112."

Thirty years later, the power trio is still touring, using heavy-metal power chords and pile-driving beats to drive lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee's often-shrill vocals.

If the years have mellowed the singer's tone quality a bit the band's appeal as smart, hard-rocking instrumental virtuosos hasn't changed a bit.

While performances of favorites such as "Spirit Of Radio" and "Tom Sawyer" brought down the comfortably-filled house last night, the many selections from the new "Snakes And Arrows" were not only welcomed but fit the back catalogue like a glove.

Like the band's larger songbook they ranged from the merely technically impressive to songs with a little more heart and soul, a quality Rush has sometimes struggled to find.

Something of a song cycle, the new album concerns itself with suffering, corruption and inequality and the human folly that keeps them alive.

New and old material alike made its point best last night when the group was in the audience's face with barnstorming rock-and-roll.

"Natural Science" smoked, creating an instrumental fever that overshadowed Lee's vocal; "Freewill" scored with a sprung rhythm reminiscent of King Crimson and a buoyant delivery from Lee, who looked like a gnarled but healthy rock star version of Sean Penn.

Rush inhabits a strange space, somewhere between Led Zeppelin and Crimson, that sometimes leaves the band's music sounding flat and mechanical. This happened last night during vocals that over-reached with Lee's penchant for arty and socially-conscious lyrics.

The videos ran the gamut from the many that were sophomoric to a few that were arresting. Then again, other songs such as the new "The Large Bowl" were quite moving in their criticism of materialism and inequality.

The group was never less than impressive with its musical technique. Alex Lifeson played guitar god as effortlessly as he found gold with his stand-mounted acoustic guitar. If he sometimes played too many notes, he balanced that elsewhere with simple raw power. Lee did the same with bass.

Neil Peart made plain why his stage position is front and center. He's a drummer's drummer as well as one who can hook every listener. This may have been the rare concert wherein air-drummers in the audience outnumbered air-guitarists.

It was interesting though, that amongst a mini-metropolis of drums and related gadgets, he seemed most intent in his extended solo during a swing segment that suggested Gene Krupa and a much smaller kit.

The most consistent moments last night came during the instrumentals, when power and improvisation were sometimes balanced with sensitivity and soul.

Date: 2007-09-15 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kasia.livejournal.com
Hah, that's hilarious. I think there's a law against using words like 'jejune' and 'gauche' while attempting to poke fun at others for being pseudo-intellectuals.


Date: 2007-09-15 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rfunk.livejournal.com
I believe there's a letter in the latest Other Paper that covers this well.... basically, John Petric has always enjoyed heaping withering criticism on certain bands (or types of music), then watching the complaints roll in, proving that he gets read and gets attention.

I wrote the paper a letter around 1993 complaining of his criticism of some band. Later I realized that the whole Music Snob thing is part of his schtick. Getting upset about it only encourages and amuses him. I'm sure he was especially amused to get a pre-emptive letter about his Rush review, "Don't let Petric review Rush".

Another thing to know about him is that he owns Johnny Go's House O' Music, next to Bernies and across from Mershon. So when he says go out and buy some music, he's being a bit self-serving. On the other hand, you can go there and complain to him in person. :-) He's the tall guy that looks about like you'd expect him to.


Date: 2009-08-14 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skarlett-syn.livejournal.com
About what one would expect from someone who practices verbal masturbation. He seems to be the only one really enjoying himself. The rest of us look on with varying degrees of disgust, amusement and or boredom....


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