Saturday, October 06, 2007

Rush in Concert

Now, I know your thinking, "Why is he doing a concert review in an Educational blog? Didn't he say he wanted to do more about the Scottish Learning Festival?" Well, I happen to think Rush are very educational... and it's my blog, so there. :-)

I'm serious about the educational bit. I think music can have the power to engage teenagers and introduce them to a world and to ideas that they might not encounter otherwise. From my own experience, it was because of Rush that I first used an inter-library loan system. I'd been a user of the Glasgow public libraries for some time but it never occurred to me that you could borrow stuff that wasn't on the shelves. However, Rush did a song called 2112 which I heard was based on a book by Ayn Rand called Anthem. I knew nothing more than this and when I couldn't find the book on the shelves (or indeed any book by Ayn Rand) I plucked up my courage and asked a librarian. Soon I was filling in a form and within a week I had the book. To be honest, I like the song better then the book. And I didn't really buy into her philosophy, but then I don't always fully buy into Rush's philosophy either. The point is, the music of Rush introduced me to new ideas and new ways of thinking.

They still make me think. Mr W. has commented elsewhere that it was a very political gig (which it was) Neil Peart's lyrics always have been political - even in their sci-fi days. A less enlightened friend described Neil's lyrics as "pretentious twaddle" - well, if it is twaddle, it's twaddle that raises important issues. Take for example The Larger Bowl from their latest album Snakes and Arrows:

If we are so much the same, like I always hear
why such different fortunes and fates?
Some of us live in a cloud of fear.
Some live behind iron gates.

Why such different fortunes and fates?
Some are blessed and some are cursed.
Some live behind iron gates
while others only see the worst.

Some are blessed and some are cursed.
The golden one or scarred from birth
while others only see the worst.
Such a lot of pain on the earth.

The golden one or scarred from birth.
Some things can never be changed.
Such a lot of pain on this earth.
It's somehow so badly arranged.

Some things can never be changed.
Some reasons will never come clear.
It's somehow so badly arranged.
If we're so much the same, like I always hear.

Interesting stuff and even more impressive in concert where it was paired with some really powerful images on the big screens at the back of the stage. Not only do the lyrics challenge me, but also, because of this song, I now know what a pantoum is. Perhaps you already know about pantoums, but if you don't, look it up! Learn something from Rush. :-)

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P.S. I got an email the other day from Rock Radio FM asking if they could post a couple of my Rush pictures on their website. I was happy for them to do this. :-)

The Captain posted this one and Tom Russell also used one of Alex playing Hope.


AndyO said...

Thanks for your review. It definitely struck a chord with me; I was also introduced to literature and ideas through Rush's music and lyrics. I've posted a link to your review on my website: under Snakes & Arrows articles, reviews, and news.

David said...

Hello Andy.

You have an interesting site, thanks for linking to me from it. I suspect I'll be visiting your site again!

David Bradley said...

I saw them last night at Wembley, great show, and yeesss...they made the same show opener deliberate mishtake with Limelight...

Just writing a short review with a scientific twist for


David said...

Thanks David

...and a really interesting blog.