It’s been almost seven long years since Rush played what would become their final NY Metro area shows at Prudential Center in NJ and Madison Square Garden in NYC as part of their 40th anniversary tour. The talent of the trio – Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and the late Neil Peart – has left remarkable influences on many musicians touring today. Primus has been on the road performing their own songs as well as an entire set dedicated to performing Rush’s A Farewell to Kings in its entirety; the tour appropriately billed as “A Tribute To Kings.” A few of those recent stops were in Albany and this past weekend, The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. Check out our coverage of Primus’ Albany show here.
NYC-based duo Battles, who formed back in 2002, put on an intriguing opening set as an excellent compliment to the rest of the evening. In some ways, the duo seemed like a live performance of a DJ, minus the turntables. Using samples, they crafted remixes and improvised jams on guitar, synths, and drums, and certainly held the attention of The Cap.
Primus took to the stage to the immediate delight of the full house crowd (which seemed to be nearly sold out at a quick glance of the room). Les CLaypool’s driving bass sound led a signature role through the first set as the band navigated through their repertoire, including the recently crafted ode to Volodomyr Zelensky, “The Man With The Iron Balls.” Proceeds from sales of that song, when released April 2022 went to benefit non-profit organization Nova Ukraine.
Donning bit of the spacey glam garb as a nod to 1978, Primus returned for the second set to perform Rush’s A Farewell to Kings in its entirety. The anticipation for this moment of the show was visible even before entering The Cap; the sheer number of Rush album and tour t-shirts in the crowd might make one wonder if they were actually at a Rush fan convention. But in fairness, for the loyal Rush fans it certainly felt that way.
Claypool noted his experience attending a Rush concert in his younger years, looking up to Geddy Lee as a tremendous influence and dreaming about someday playing bass on stage. Almost note for note, Primus recreated the album with remarkable precision to dynamics, tone and style, although Claypool joked about how difficult it was to mimic Geddy Lee’s high octave range (which he pulled off the few instances where he reached for that range).
Rounding out the night, Primus returned for an extended encore to dive back into their own songs.
Primus – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester – May 20, 2022
Set 1: Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers, Lacquer Head, Groundhog’s Day, Polka Dot Rose, American Life, HOINFODAMAN, Conspiranoia, Professor Nutbutter’s House of Treats, Hamburger Train, Harold of the Rocks, The Man With the Iron Balls
Set 2: (A Farewell to Kings): A Farewell to Kings, Xanadu, Closer to the Heart, Cinderella Man, Madrigal, Cygnus X-1
Encore: On the Tweek Again, Over the Electric Grapevine, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver, Tommy the Cat, Follow the Fool