Given the tendency for rock stars to express their wild personalities with over-the-top stage theatrics, I would be remiss if I didn't make a list of the most spectacular examples. Spanning the range from silly to ridiculous to downright awesome, the following is the second entry in a series of unforgettable props and features that have graced the stage of live rock ‘n’ roll.
Rush – Possibly Canada’s most significant musical contribution, Rush has established a reputation for being the antithesis of the typical rock band, boasting incredible musicianship rather than sexual escapades, drug use, or big egos. The result is concerts free of over-the-top theatrics: no costumes, no make up, and no pyrotechnics.
While Rush has long employed the services of
a large video screen, the only other notable features of their stage show (besides Neil Peart’s gigantic drum set) are Geddy Lee’s strange appliances in lieu of bass amps.
Because Lee runs his sound directly through the front of house console, the space normally occupied by bass cabinets is left open.
Over the last decade, the void has been filled by refrigerators, dryers, vending machines, rotisserie ovens, and meat grinders. And the props aren’t just for looks; they not only work but are actually used throughout the show. The dryers (pictured right) housed limited edition Rush t-shirts, which the band would toss into the crowd; the rotisserie ovens (pictured below) cooked real chickens, which were tended to by a chef throughout the concert; and the meat grinders are continually fed meat, turning out sausage (probably fake sausage) for the duration of the show. Just to hammer home the silliness of the whole thing, the appliances are always mic’d, as if they are producing sound like the bass amps they replace.
So what crazy concert moment sticks in your mind? If you have any memorable stories of silly stage props, malfunctions, or over-the-top theatrics, share it with us in the HeyLiveMusic forum! And check back soon for the third installment in the series... the degenerate Motley Crue and their crazy spinning drum set is up next.
(Kyle Katterheinrich is a member of the HeyLiveMusic marketing team and a frequent contributor to the site)