MUSIC: Rush inspires prog rock geekdom at MGM Grand.

It is never acceptable to attend a rock show wearing a T-shirt of the band that you are seeing.
Not sure why this is, but it one of the official rules of concert going.
There is, however, one group whose live gigs offer an exception.
And that would be Rush.
Sporting tees from tours past at their shows is a sign of pride, a sort of rock and roll merit badge.
The guy in the seat right in front of us at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday, for instance, was sporting a sweet 1985 “Signals” European tour shirt.
Just walking through the MGM Grand was akin parting a sea of Rush album covers painted across faded shirts from years gone by.
So, why do Rush fans earn a pass in this breach of concert etiquette?
Well, mainly because there’s an inclusive, communal feel at their gigs, with thousands of like-minded Rush partisans nerding out in unison. 
Displaying your fandom, then, makes you a part of the in-club, inspires a dialogue.   
Moreover, Rush’s music inspires geekdom.
Their tunes are intricate, technically dazzling and fun to try and keep up with.
If the shirts were vintage on Friday night, so were plenty other things.
Like singer/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee’s voice.
Consider that Rush formed in the late ‘60s.
Then think about how even dudes from the ‘80s, rockers like Vince Neil and Axl Rose, can’t sing like they used to.
To hear Lee, 59, sound exactly like he like he always has for the past four decades is almost as much a marvel as his incredibly dexterous playing. 
During a raging “The Big Money,” the guy wailed like a cat getting its tail stomped on — a cat made of awesome.   
Lee’s bandmates seemed just as ageless.
Guitarist Alex Lifeson is a study in balancing fireworks with finesse — his solo during “The Analog Kid” was incredible — while drummer Neil Peart is hard to take your eyes off of when in action.
His playing is as expressive as his facial features aren’t — the guy’s face seems chipped from granite.  
After an opening set where they mixed classic rock radio staples (“Subdivisions,” “Limelight”) with lesser played album cuts (“Where’s My Thing?”, “The Pass”) Rush performed most of their current disc, “Clockwork Angels,” backed by a string section, highlighted by a headbanging cellist.
New song “Headlong Flight,” a mini-epic, hit particularly hard.
From there, it was a rush (pun intended!) of classics (“YYZ,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Tom Sawyer”), culminating with a show-ending “2112 (parts I, II and VII).”
As the crowd filed out of the venue, the merch lines grew long.
Gotta buy that new tour shirt to wear next time.   

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