Rush performs ‘Tom Sawyer’ at First Niagara Center - VIDEO
Ah, Rush. Is there a band that is easier to both love and hate? Some of their music over the past 40 years has been undeniably incredible -- "Working Man," for instance, sounds like vintage Black Sabbath, only better. "Limelight" is a profoundly introspective look at public life. "Red Barchetta" is, despite its somewhat odd premise, a beautifully nostalgic song that could serve as the epitome of accessible prog-rock.
But others -- like "Roll The Bones," with its cringe-inducing hip-hop breakdown, or the heavy-handed allegory of "The Trees," or just about anything from the 2112 concept album -- could easily serve as the wincing soundtrack to the lives of 40-year-old virgins. It's what made the Rush theme in the Paul Rudd - Jason Siegel movie I Love You, Man so perfect -- Rush is dork rock. Most of us are dorks. Hence, we listen to "Subdivisions" and play air bass and don't expect the cool kids to understand. We don't want them to understand.
Rush's "Tom Sawyer" is a track that fully embraces the band's yin and yang: a powerful, dark rocker that feels like some magnificent, electrical time machine connecting boyish myth to the post-modern future. But "Tom Sawyer" is also packed with utterly impenetrable lyrics and a thick sense of self-seriousness so lacking in self-awareness that it becomes, by accident, almost humorous.
Here are the men of Rush -- Geddy, Alex and Neil -- performing "Tom Sawyer" live on Friday at the First Niagara Center. Check out the expressions on their faces -- are they playing an arena rock concert or answering questions for a tax audit? Lighten up, guys -- it's almost like they just turned on 97 Rock and thought, "Oh, no, they're playing Rush again."