Rush's "Time Machine" tour was well-named in more ways than one. Not only did the Canadian trio perform 1981's Moving Pictures in its entirety, but the tour transported the concert industry back to the days of robust ticket sales. You know - three, four years ago.
Last week Billboard reported that Rush's first tour since 2007's outing behind Snakes & Arrows grossed nearly $19 million in its two-month run, good enough for the top spot on the magazine's latest "Hot Tours" chart. Helping the prog-rock veterans vault country stars such as Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood - Van Morrison is the only other rocker in the Top 10 - were venues like The Woodlands' Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Rush's September 25 show north of town racked up the largest amphitheater crowd for a single Time Machine show with an attendance of 15,225, the magazine said.
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"Of course, like [Moving Pictures], the band is noticeably older. Guitarist Alex Lifeson and Peart are decidedly beefier (Lifeson now looks like the offspring of our grandfather and Brock Sampson), while Lee has finally aged into his own wizened countenance, and they begged forgiveness for taking a couple breaks," Rocks Off's Pete Vonder Haar wrote about the show.
"Little of the onstage energy was missing, however. Lee and Lifeson obviously fed off the crowd's enthusiasm, and were as loose in attitude as they were tight technically." (Read the entire review here.)
Concert industry journal Pollstar also reported that through the third quarter of 2010, the Pavilion is running second among the world's Top 100 amphitheaters with total ticket sales of 307,489. Besides Rush, other 2010 sellouts include Buzzfests XXIV and XXV, Jimmy Buffett, Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with ZZ Top.