Rush at Hershey Park: How Sweet it Is
There are few areas in the United States that are sweeter - literally - than Hershey Park, Pennsylvania - home of Hershey Chocolate. Simply driving through the area, you are treated to the unmistakable aroma of sugar and chocolate -- so much so that some believe you can actually gain weight simply by breathing the air in the vicinity of Hershey Park.
But as undeniably sweet as Hershey chocolate is to the area, locals and tourists alike took in another type of sweetness on Friday night - Rush - who made their fifth stop on the 2011 Leg of their on-going Time Machine Tour at Hershey's Giant Center.
Playing for a near-capacity fan-pack crowd, many of whom traveled from all corners of the country in rain-soaked weather, Rush - as usual - did not disappoint. Right out of the gate, Alex, Neil and Geddy were full of energy as they flashed smiles and threw out waves to the on looking sea of humanity.
Launching from from the opening song - The Spirit of Radio - and heading into a trio of fan-pleasing classics like Time Stand Still, Presto and Stick it Out, Rush never let up - and neither did the crowd who energetically applauded the end of each song and the introduction of the next one.
Rush blazed through the first set without a hitch, ending it with a fantastic rendition of their 80's classic Subdivisions - a song that shockingly ended with Neil Peart playing a faux guitar on his drum sticks!
The anticipation of the upcoming second set was growing since most fans knew that, once Rush took a short "we're getting too old" break, the band's quintessential album Moving Pictures would be performed in its entirety.
And just as they did during the first set, Rush scorched the Giant Center with a near-perfect rendition of the seven wonders that is Moving Pictures. Geddy was on fire, playing his bass at lightning speed. Alex was masterful; relishing every note - and smiling at the onlookers who air-guitared along with him. And Neil - tossing his sticks effortlessly into the air without missing a beat; the drummer extraordinaire earns every accolade thrown at him - and then some.
Rush then launched into their new track - Caravan - which had the crowd fist-pumping throughout -- before they were utterly mesmerized once the Professor jumped right into his drum solo. Having seen Rush too many times to count, I can say that I've never heard a crowd so quiet during one of Neil's solos. But in this case, it was a good thing. Because mesmerized they - we - were -- following along with every action; every reaction - every slamming note. Until the mastery of what we were all witnessing couldn't be contained anymore, and - in unison - we all erupted.
From Neil's solo, to a beautiful 12-string extended acoustic introduction to Closer to the Heart and then spinning into 2112, Rush never let up and never slowed down. Ending the second set with Far Cry, the crowd was as energetic as ever -- and the band soaked it all in.
The double-song encore made up of the amazing La Villa Strangiato and "first" Rush classic 'Working Man' topped off a night of incredible energy, amazing musicianship and a coming together of Rush fans from all walks of life. We all entered as strangers, but we all left as a unified family. Unified by our love of Rush.
How Sweet It Is.
Click HERE for several hundred pictures from last's night show.