Last night’s concert at the Birminghm NEC was generally adjudged to be the best so far. Rush have a historical connection with this venue, having released live recordings from it before. While better than the Wembley Arena, it’s still a shed in my humble opinion. Tonight’s gig at the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena sounds more promising, that venue is more modern and has a better reputation for sound quality. Our seats are quite far back, which will give us a different sonic and visual perspective.
This kind of variation is what we need, since Rush are really playing it safe on this trip, and haven’t varied the set list at all so far. That decision makes more sense since I’ve been reading Neil Peart’s new book, Traveling Music, which alludes to the physical and mental strains that result from taking a show like this on the road. This European leg looks relatively easy in comparison to the list of locations they played in the USA and Canada before coming here. British bands like Marillion have been known to shy away from the USA at times, having had the experience of losing themselves on the road there.