Saturday, November 26, 2011

11/25/11 Rush Heads with Quadrant 4 (@ The Red Parrot Eau Claire, WI)

This show started at 9PM I guess, but I probably didn't arrive until around 9:30. I intended to leave early (like 5pm or even earlier), but with my habits involving procrastinating, I didn't. I wish I had even more so now looking back on it due to the fact the 70+ mile stretch from St.Paul to Eau Claire I was reminded now after the fact, includes many stretches in absolute blackness. In other words, driving 65-70 mph or more, with no road lighting isn't as desirable as with it or of course with DAYLIGHT.

I did manage to arrive at the Eau Claire exit early enough, despite lack of lighting, and getting thrown off by the "Alternate 94" sign. I believe I have now learned, to never take the split/merge near Menomonie with the "Interstate 94" sign because it does actually say "Alternate 94" in fact. I ended up doing that and going a mile or two out of the way and having to turn around.

The unexpected/unforecasted rain of course didn't help either.

But my Google maps directions of course didn't lead me to 1700 Hastings, but going what seemed to be in circles in and out of downtown Eau Claire. I finally stopped at a gas station and got directions to find Hastings and where The Red Parrot was.

When I arrived, Quadrant 4 was already 20-30 minutes into their set. They are it appears, a mostly covers band who plays instrumental versions of a lot of progressive rock, fusion and classic rock. From memory, I recall they played a rendition of "Carol of the Bells" (much like Trans-Siberian Orchestra's), their namesake track which is from Billy Cobham's Spectrum record. Something by Joe Satriani ("Summer Song"?), and War's "Low Rider."

Overall, a cool opening act before the Rush Heads.

As far as the Rush Heads here's a scan of their set list:

Although that's not entirely complete, at least in detail. Steve Stabenow sang/played more than just "Discovery/Soliquy" (off 2112) in that acoustic section. I want to say he did "Lessons" and "The Sphere: Kind of Dream" (from Hemispheres) and perhaps 1 or 2 others.

But overall, the perfomance was good, despite a hiccup or 2 on a few parts of songs. Especially given they only practiced together 7 times. To see Greg Herriges and Troy Berg in this setting was certainly different for me, given I'm used to seeing them in cafe's and libraries doing acoustic music. But overall, the energy and chemistry they have from Greg's solo shows, was not absent here. And Dave Schoenrock added another element, especially in the Rush/Prog fanboy. He clearly knows his Rush like a lot of us.

The different singers were an interesting mix, with Sarah Spindle pulling off quite-well a lot of the Geddy Lee-isms on tunes like "Red Barchetta, "Working Man," "Fly By Night" "The Spirit of Radio," and "Closer to the Heart." Stabenow did a lot of the more falsetto-laden tunes including "Freewill" and "Temples of Syrinx."

The opening R30 medley was maybe my favorite thing of the evening, which was sections of "Finding My Way" into "Anthem" into "Bastille Day" into "A Passage to Bangkok" and finally into "The Voyage Book II: Hemispheres."

I got the chance to chat with the Rush Heads and it sounds like they have some offers to do more shows. In the Twin Cities, and Eau Claire again. I'm not sure what the status of the recently-formed Minnesota Rush tribute band Exit Stage Right is currently.

edit: from their facebook, it appears they have been doing some gigs off and on this year at casinos, but perhaps not as often as they were in 2009 and 2010. So if Rush Heads were to end up gigging a bit in town, especially for benefits like the "Warm the Children" I'd imagine some of the people who I know would be interested in seeing them.