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Rush celebrates its 40th anniversary in Tampa

It's an astounding achievement in the ephemeral world of rock 'n' roll stardom: Rush has been around for more than 40 years and hasn't even had a single personnel change since just after its first album in 1974.

But longevity is the least impressive of the band's accomplishments. Rush has had 24 studio albums that went gold -- which places them just behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones for most consecutive gold records -- and they've sold 40 million albums overall.

They've maintained their popularity by being fluid in their musical style, which has ranged from hard blues-rock in the early years to prog-rock later and a hybrid of the two later still, and by growing in their lyrical message, progressing from Neil Peart's Ayn Rand-inspired writings from the 1970s into something more sophisticated.

They've also developed one of the most rabid and steadfast fan bases in popular music, thank in large part to their energetic and richly textured live shows.

If you haven't seen them live, you'll have a chance this weekend, when Rush comes to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday.

Peart (the new kid in the band after four decades), Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson are celebrating their long career with their bandmates and with their fans in their R40 Tour, which started May 8 and will have stopped in 34 cities before it ends in early August.

Details: 7:30 p.m. May 24 Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets: $46, $66, $96, $151. Information: 813-301-2500, amaliearena.com.

-- Marty Clear

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