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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Rush Up and Wait: Security checks delayed the line of Rush fans at last week's San Jose Arena concert.

Take Off ... That Wallet Chain
Rush is tight. So is security at San Jose show

SHARING YOUR NAME with a right-wing radio wacko does have its drawbacks. Ask Rush, the Canadian rock band that performed at the San Jose Arena last Wednesday. At 7:45pm, Rush fans were queued up outside in a long line that stretched down to St. John Street. Small groups of fans were passed through security pat-down. With the show starting promptly at 8pm and no opening act, many fans were left outside holding tickets when Rush hit the stage. For the benefit of fans shuffling through the line, you only missed the nut-and-bolt video sequence from the Counterparts tour, set to "Thus Spake Zarathustra." The trio--guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart--then launched into "Dreamline."

The three have a solid reputation as serious musicians, and the live show allowed them to exhibit some of their practice-space casualness. The entire stage was covered in plush carpet. Some household appliances and a refrigerator bookended Lee's stacks of Marshall amps. Cardboard cutouts of the Three Stooges and Pamela Anderson peeked around the speakers. Lifeson even emulated the infamous Macarena and mugged with Curley. The sound was big and LOUD. It was interesting to watch the seesaw effect of new and old numbers. The new songs from Test for Echo received patient applause. Older ones like "Red Barchetta," "Freewill," "Subdivisions" and "The Trees" summoned up lusty appreciation and furious air guitar/bass/drums.

There were many constants--Lifeson's life-affirming solos, especially during "Tom Sawyer," "Subdivisions" and "Spirit of the Radio"; Peart tossing his drumstick to the ceiling and catching it during the three-beat break of "Red Barchetta"; the inevitable sing-along to "Closer to the Heart"; the rapping video skull in "Roll the Bones."

The arrival of the epic "2112" was greeted with cheers and men hugging men. After years sentenced to glove compartments and laser light shows, the complete, blown-out version of "2112" sounded great live. I kept thinking that there is much in common between some of the new "illbient" groups like Tricky and Rush's musical masterpiece.

After a brief intermission, Rush launched into "Test for Echo," "Subdivisions" and "Freewill." Not long after came the fervently anticipated Peart drum solo. Peart is the Jackie Chan of drummers. He combines creativity, a fluid style and chops to produce a drum solo actually worth buying binoculars for. This show was no exception, with Peart mixing it up with Buddy Rich­style snare work, Latin flashes and a rigorous hammer-dulcimer break. There must be somebody out there who has Peart's best drum solos strung together on a compilation tape, like Chan's best fight scenes--please forward. "Tom Sawyer" and "YYZ" closed the show in satisfactory manner.

Back to the entrance debacle. I can understand safety procedures, but security officials should have been more organized. With no opening act offered, a potentially dangerous situation could have jumped off, especially when frustrated fans stuck outside hear music playing. Anyone remember the Who in Cleveland?

Killer Bees ... Somewhere

There's strong word on the street that the Wu-Tang Clan is performing in San Jose on Friday (Nov. 29). I have consulting with many reliable informants, but no confirmation yet. If somebody knows, email me. ... One hip-hop show I do know is happening is 10Bass T's CD-release party. The show is Saturday (Nov. 30) at the Hi-Fi Lounge in San Jose with performances by 10Bass T, Mystik Journeymen and a gang of guest emcees and DJs. ... Last week, Larry Knudson was mistakenly labeled as the manager of the Campbell Tower Records; Bret Mitchell holds that position. Also in record-shop news, punk-rock record store Pirate Cat opens its new South First St. location (next to the B-Hive) on Sunday (Dec. 1).

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From the November 27-December 4, 1996 issue of Metro

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