RUSH rocks the BOK!

RUSH rocks the BOK!


Tulsa’s BOK Center was the venue for the opening show of Rush’s 2015 R40 Live tour.  Rush, a three-member hard rock band from Toronto, Ontario, can still pack a stadium sized concert hall with all manner of fans and devotees that hang on every note and stay lost in the sound until the final curtain drops.  This tour, which will likely be their final one, commemorates the 40th anniversary of drummer/lyricist Neil Peart’s permanent addition to the group and will visit some 34 cities in the U.S. and Canada between last night and early August.


There were many fans and followers who were counting the days waiting for this show from the minute the tickets went on sale in February.  As it turns out, you didn’t have to be a stoner (active or former) to be one.  The appeal of Rush was actually a discussion topic among my post-concert nightcap company.


The group played two sets of approximately an hour and fifteen minutes in duration, the first of which began promptly at 7:45 PM.  The first set was more of their lesser known works (lesser known defined as those songs which have not gained much exposure on FM radio).  One of their better known songs, Subdivisions, was played near the end of the set.  Even still, the quality of musical skill on display was well worth the price of the ticket as well as the wait.


Geddy Lee, lead vocalist, bass guitar and keyboards


Alex Lifeson, lead guitar


Neil Peart, percussionist, lyricist

As was alluded to above, the music of Rush appeals largely to single males of higher intelligence and stoners (either active or former).  Many were present last night as was evidenced by the number of single men in our row and the number of attendees who appeared to be fresh from a visit to Colorado.


In addition to all the instrumentation, sound equipment and pyrotechnical gear on stage, there were some perplexing show props.  As Lee has done in previous tours using unusual props, this time he had four Maytag dryers with stage crew turning or moving them between songs.  In the second set the dryers were gone and replaced with stacked amplifiers.


I will admit that I was not a dedicated follower of Rush in my younger years, well, any more than I was a follower of similar groups in their genre of hard rock/progressive rock such as Journey, Triumph, Black Sabbath, and Genesis among others.  As we all grow and evolve there came a point on the continuum for me that lyrics of certain songs by Rush spoke directly to me.  The best example of this was the second set opening number, Tom Sawyer:


Lyrics excerpt:

No, his mind is not for rent
To any God or government
Always hopeful yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is


The second set contained more of their better known work including Spirit of Radio, Closer to the Heart and their finale was that good ‘ole blue collar classic, Working Man.  About halfway through the set Neil Peart performed a percussion solo lasting nearly eight minutes which   demonstrated why he holds a litany of awards for his professional skill too long to list here.


By the time the final curtain came down myself and the rest of the audience knew we had been wowed by three professionals still at the top of their craft well beyond age 60.  As a group, Rush is most certainly worthy of all the awards for which they were nominated and received.  I am glad to have gotten to see these three hard rock veterans and heard them make in the first person the music which has served as an integral part of the backdrop of my life for so many years.  I encourage anyone who is able to attend a show on this tour schedule.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Tom Sawyer Live in Cleveland 2011


1 Comment

  1. Tom Upshaw
    May 9, 2015

    Red Barchetta is one of my faves; a well-crafted sci fi tale and a lesson about freedom from oppression, and loss, all in the form of a rock song.