YYZ Gig Reviews|
(Click on a gig to see the review)
I could describe this gig with one word:
Superblyfabulouslymagnificentlyextremelygoodeveningofveryloudrushmusic. But I won't. There was more to it than that.
I was at the convention last year and was about ten foot from the stage just as YYZ came on, this didn't matter as it was also the front row and gave me and many others plenty of room for prancing about. However this year I got in the same place and a few minutes before the band came on I found myself about eight rows back, such was increase in numbers from last year and the desire to be 'up front' for the gig, and boy was it worth getting 'up front'.
YYZ opened with a faultless 'Spirit of Radio' and continued with 'Subdivisions' then into my all time favourite 'up tempo rocker', 'The Analog Kid'. I have given up telling people to listen to this track just for its mesmerising bass line. The sound was much better than the previous YYZ gig that I went to at the Moses Gate, but I think this was due to the position of the sound man. It must be difficult controlling a live mix when your head is two foot from the right side of the P.A.!
Sound (or lack of it) was also a bit of a headache for YYZ at this gig, as no sooner were they settling into the music when Gaz's radio mic. went gaga leaving a hapless singer flitting from mic. to mic. just to keep the song going. If this wasn't enough, in his flitting about he managed to stand on Simon's guitar lead yanking it and snapping the jack connector inside. Now we had two stranded. Quick as a flash Simon changed guitars but to no avail. Unknown to him at the time it was the lead and not the guitar that was bust; 'Living in the Limelight' soon became 'Dying in the Limelight'. Talk about bad luck.
At (on?) this stage everybody took five while the obstreperous and not to mention recalcitrant items were dealt with.
Thankfully YYZ had used all their bad luck in one go and returned to the music swiftly and calmly as if nothing had happened. 'Red Barchetta', another all time favorite of mine, was dispatched with ruthless accuracy. Oh joy. 'Chemistry', a song I have mixed feelings about was delivered slightly fast and somewhat staccato but non the less competent. 'Strangiato' however, was something else. To give you some idea, play the 'Exit Stage Left' version before you got to see YYZ and see if you can spot the difference when they play it. I can't. 'Kid Gloves', a song Peart says "Didn't work" worked very well for me as did a first time airing of 'Distant Early Warning'. Then came the interval where I managed to spill the best part of MY pint of Guinness down the front of MY white t-shirt and win zero prizes in the raffle. Talk about bad luck.
Set Two was to prove quite an eye opener. YYZ opened with 'Xanadu'. I think most of the audience expected YYZ to play this at some point in the gig but no one expected Simon to walk on stage with his very own brand spanking new White Doubleneck Gibson SG. Gee whizz. I was as impressed as Harry Potter was on receiving a 'Firebolt' for Christmas (sorry folks, you'll just have to read 'The Prisoner of Azkaban' to find out what one of those is). This was not showing off or being flash, this was pure dedication to authentically recreate the music of the finest band in the world. 'Xanadu' was performed with new vigour - especially the twelve-string bit and YYZ did the Rush thing and jumped into 'Superconductor' three-quarters of the way through 'Xanadu'. Next came the musical mishmash that is 'Digital Man', followed by 'Time Stand Still', 'Roll the Bones' and 'Virtuality' - the latter still needing a bit of work on it yet. The pace was slowed a bit with Simon doing an acoustic montage of 'Madrigal', 'Different Strings' and 'Lakeside Park' - if my memory serves me correctly! We were then treated to that good old steadfast 'Closer to the Heart' followed by 'Freewill' and then came the track YYZ affectionately refer to as "The Monster" I got a renewed love of 'Natural Science' after hearing the live version on 'Different Stages' and have never looked back. YYZ didn't disappoint. Then came that much remixed Rush track (though God knows what was wrong with the original) 'Tom Sawyer', followed by the bands err.. title track? A darn difficult one to play by anyone's standards, though YYZ didn't have any trouble with it. Finally we had a medley of old stuff with a good helping of '2112', the encore was 'The Big Money'. All in all YYZ played for three hours, not many stadium band play that long and these guys are doing it for love. . .Go and see `em.
This place doesn't hold many at the best of times and the landlord, Raymond,usually issues about 120 tickets for a 'tribute' gig. At 7 o'clock he had only sold about 60 tickets. All week.
By 9 o'clock there were considerably more than 120 in the pub and people were being turned away at the door.... I have been watching bands at the 'Moses' for some time and I have honestly, never, never seen the 'Moses' so full. The place was completely chocker and people were clearly buzzing with anticipation and the atmosphere was as good as any gig this reporter has been to. YYZ ran through 'Subdivisions' and 'Roll The Bones' for the soundcheck. The omens and the sounds were good.
They opened with 'Spirit of Radio' and the audience knew they were in for a treat. The band played through a strong set that included Subdivisions, Chemistry, Closer to the Heart, Time Stand Still, Analog Kid, Freewill, Tom Sawyer, Roll the Bones, Virtuality, Closer to the Heart and Strangiato was just wonderful, Xanadu was incredibly accurate, not just the playing but the sound was right there. The band certainly work very hard on getting the songs right. They also brought in 'Passage to Bangkok' this was excellent. The singer did his party piece of fluffing his words, this time it was the turn of Natural Science, oh well.
I have seen YYZ three times now and will be at Crewe 9/9/2000 for a fourth gig. I have to say that some of their songs have improved notably 'The Big Mahoney' was much better than last time when I thought they just didn't have it right. The vocals on the night were a bit quiet and a few people mentioned this but overall the sound was very good They played 'til about Midnight which meant they had played a two and a half hour set, without a break. If you have never seen this band then go and do so. You will not be disappointed.
The only thing that disappointed me on the night was when I was up at the front getting into the music someone nicked my pint!