Gig Review: Rush tribute featuring Moving Pictures / Leoni Jane Kennedy – Bannermans, Edinburgh (6th May 2024)

Leoni Jane Kennedy (c) Gary Cooper

When you can no longer see Rush live, you need to find a band that’s said to be the next best thing. So here we are at Bannermans Edinburgh to see Moving Pictures, a Scottish Rush tribute band. But first up is songwriter/performer and tonight’s merchandise girl, Leoni Jane Kennedy, doing an acoustic Rush set.

The set revolves around her stunning New World Woman album, released last year. We kick off tonight with “Tears”, from the 2112 Rush album. To call her interpretation stunning would be an understatement. Next up is “Faithless,” and it’s mesmerizing to watch her play the guitar and sing this song. Although the album version has a backing singer, she carries it so well tonight, delivering a stunning version of “Kid Gloves.” Her guitar playing is simply sublime.

The rendition of “Digital Man” is in a league of its own; not many people can play acoustic at this level of skill. We’re treated to one self-penned tune tonight, “Ammunition”, a poignant song about her relationship with her father. It’s a true gem, sung and played with genuine passion. We close this stunning set with a slightly reworked tune from Signals, “New World Woman”, and it works brilliantly. It brings a smile to my face watching the packed crowd sing it back to Leoni.

Tonight was a revelation; if you ever have the chance to catch this young lady live, she’s one of the best acoustic singer/songwriters I’ve ever seen.

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We have the main event now, Moving Pictures, comprising Steve Brown on guitars, pedal keyboard & vocals, Eoin de Paor (John Power) on lead vocals, bass & keyboards, and Jamie Dunleavey on drums & percussion. Their setlist spans from 1976 to 2012. They open with “Subdivisions” from Signals, and goosebumps cover me as I shut my eyes and immerse myself in the music that has been a huge part of my life since I first saw Rush live in 1981.

Moving Pictures (c) Gary Cooper

Tonight’s experience surpasses my expectations; it’s an intense emotional immersion into a back catalogue that few musicians would even attempt due to its complexity. Yet tonight, I feel musically alive, smiling and singing along, trying to capture the band’s brilliance in my photos.

We journey through “2112,” experiencing a breathtaking version of “Beneath, Between & Behind” from Fly By Night. “Marathon” from Power Windows follows, and Eoin/John’s vocals, remarkably close to Geddy Lee’s, leave me staggered.

From the album that introduced me to Rush in 1980, Permanent Waves, we’re treated to simply breathtaking renditions of “Freewill”, “Entre Nous”, and “The Spirit Of Radio”. These songs hold a special place in my heart, and the band’s faultless performance moves me deeply.

Tonight’s 2-hour plus setlist is a joyous journey, with double neck lead guitar and double neck bass interactions and stunning drums that would surely make the Prof proud. The band’s onstage interaction mirrors the originals so closely it’s almost eerie, showing their genuine joy in playing these songs and keeping the spirit of Rush alive.

Even “The Garden” brings grown men to tears tonight, a song that turned a certain venue legend onto Rush. This was a simply stunning night of music, with a packed venue singing their hearts out to every word. I’m at a loss for words to describe how incredible this band was tonight. If you love Rush as much as I do, seeing Moving Pictures live is a must. If you missed seeing Rush live, this is as close as you’ll ever get to the real thing.

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Photos by Gary Cooper

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