Rush brought their Vapor Trails tour to the Tweeter Center on the Waterfront in Camden, New Jersey, on Sunday, July 14, 2002. The Canadian power trio of guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist Geddy Lee, and drummer Neil Peart have returned to stage performances after a five year absence.
To the theme song of The Three Stooges, three clothes dryers were running on stage as "Tom Sawyer" began with a screen shot of Peart commencing the song with a crash into his drumkit. "Roll The Bones" rocked the venue. Utilizing stock video, the dancing skeleton was featured during his rap break with a stylish mohawk. Floating diamonds accentuated the lead guitar solo. Lifeson chimed in with back up vocals.
Their performance of "YYZ" was tremendous. All the elements of live Rush came together; crunching guitar, bubbling bass, and thumping drums made this piece a concert highpoint on stage. "The Pass", a mellow power ballad from 1989, was well received by the Camden crowd.
Following an intermission, the second set began with the sound of crickets in conjunction with the projection of a valley at night. As night rapidly gave way to daylight, the rustling of a scary monster was heard. Suddenly, a dragon appeared on the screen snorting fire. The dragon proudly displayed a cigar in his possession, then sniffed it before lighting it with a blast of his nasal fire, accompanied by a pyrotechnic display.
"One Little Victory", off their new release Vapor Trails, is enhanced visually by the humorous escapades of a mean-spirited dragon who dislikes Rush. The nasty dragon produces a Rush backstage pass and incinerates it with another fire-snort. The sound of Rush live on stage is annoying, so the dragon waves a white flag and flies away. Before the end of the number, the dragon flies back for one final pyrotechnic display.
"Dreamline" showcased thematic use of lasers and stage lighting. Lifeson utilized his wawa bar for a slower and unusual guitar solo. Strange animals were projected onto the screen during the instrumental "Where's My Thing". Rush cranked as Lee's bass burped. Neil Peart segued into a drum solo. His drumkit rotated, allowing him to access to his massive drum arsenal.
Lee introduced the next song by stating, "This is the part of the show where we exhibit something different". Perhaps the most moving composition of the evening, the simplistic performance of "Resist" by Lifeson and Lee on acoustic guitars was stunning. The axe duo had appeared on stage without any special effects, sharing an unplugged treat with their fans.
Remarking, "Now that's Downey fresh", Rush T-shirts were removed from the spinning dryers and lobbed into the appreciative audience. The encore set ended with the 1975 Rush classic "Working Man". This version had a slightly slower tempo, but Lifeson's guitar-drenched arrangement hammered it's delivery. Lee soloed on his bass for two brief passages during their loud jam.
As July 14 is Bastille Day and the fact that Lee wished French Rush fans in the audience a Happy Bastille Day, one sort of expected to hear them perform "Bastille Day" from Caress Of Steel. No such luck. Nevertheless however, Rush put on a very impressive performance.
Camden setlist: Tom Sawyer * Distant Early Warning * New World Man * Roll The Bones * Earthshine * YYZ * The Pass * Bravado * Big Money * Between Sun And Moon * Vital Signs * Natural Science * intermission * One Little Victory * Driven * Ceiling Unlimited * Secret Touch * Dreamline * Red Sector A * Where's My Thing * drum solo * Resist * 2112 * Limelight * La Villa Strangiato * The Spirit Of Radio * Encore: By-tor And The Snow Dog * Cygnus X-1 * Working Man
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Rush rocks on the Delaware River
by Timothy Tilghman