Rush concert thrills die-hard fans

? Thursday evening at Bonner Springs’ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Canadian prog-rock power trio Rush demonstrated that it can still draw and satisfy its throng of devoted fans.

Given to both ridiculous bombast and silly sight gags, investing a fortune in state-of-the-art production and performing in street clothes, Rush is a band of contradictions.

Under a massive lighting rig stood Alex Lifeson’s guitar rig, Neil Peart’s drum riser and standing in for Geddy Lee’s bass amplifiers were a trio of coin-operated Laundromat dryers, miked just as though they were musical equipment.

Rush is a player’s band but Lee, Lifeson and Peart aren’t improvisers. Their commitment to exacting recreations of their recordings suggests an infuriating confidence that they got the songs perfect the first time. Duplicating the recorded performance is a cool trick but it obscures the soul of the music.

All three musicians are excellent players, and Lee may be the only singer in history to benefit from having a voice get lower with age. After performing classic rock staples “Tom Sawyer” and “New World Man,” it was during the instrumental “YYZ” that their skill was given full flower.

Lifeson tends to play mainly rhythm parts but when he does solo, as during “Bravado,” he steals the show. Seldom has anyone sweat more on stage than did Lifeson on Thursday. Astonishingly, he didn’t find himself a dry shirt during the break between sets and apparently didn’t have change for Lee’s dryers.

Opening the second set was “One Little Victory,” from the new release “Vapor Trails,” a concert highlight. During Peart’s drum solo he seemed unwilling to sustain a single rhythm for more than 10 seconds.