August 1, 2004
Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre - Atlanta, GA

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Ah, the prog-rock wet dream! For three and a half hours, the Canadian equivalent of Led Zeppelin barnstormed their faithful. With an opening “Overture” culled from early instrumentals that segued into “The Spirit Of Radio,” then “Force Ten,” the trio proved that they still hold the Top Of The Chops award. “YYZ,” “2112,” “La Villa Strangiato,” “By-Tor & The Snow Dog”: they were all there, every ridiculously difficult, overblown riff they ever did. For their 30th anniversary tour, they added in covers that influenced them at the start. This was where they went astray. Geddy Lee has no Mississippi in him whatsoever. In fact, hearing Rush play “Crossroads” is kind of embarrassing. “The Seeker” wasn’t much better. The only cover that felt right was the acoustic, laid back “Heart Full Of Soul.”

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My favorite moment was the incredible “One Little Victory” that closed the first set. With columns of flame rising behind him, the normally stoic Neil Peart cut loose. Even on the lawn, his drumming was more like syncopated thunder than percussion. This was far more intense that the actual finale of “Limelight.” Of course, maybe by then, I was just worn out. Three and a half hours of anyone is too much, although, the massive fireworks display over the venue was a nice touch!

(Chris McKay /

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