A Family that Rushes Together Stays Together (Time Stand Still)

In 1987, this one idiot named Rick on my school bus mentioned that he was excited for a new album by some band who would be using electronic drums for the first time. I wasn’t the least bit interested.

 

I was also a young, dumb idiot.

 

That band was Rush, and they were on the cusp of releasing “Hold Your Fire,” their quintessential 80s offering. A perfect blend of guitar, bass, drums, and synth, this album was ironically destined to become one of my top 5 albums of all time.

 

I didn’t really join the Rush scene until 1989, with the release of “Presto.” I forgot to send the “Selection of the Month” card back to Columbia, so I ended up with the cassette tape. Gave it a once-through, and set it aside until college, where I met James. James had *everything* Rush had done at that point, plus some bootleg concert tapes. He let me borrow them, and I was *hooked*. After my first year, I came home and hit the local exchange store and bought everything I could find.

 

Tonight, my family will join me at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, where we will witness what could possibly be the last large-scale tour Rush ever performs. My 5th show, my wife’s and older daughter’s 2nd shows, and my younger daughter’s first ever show. I have been waiting for this for longer than I can remember, and tonight, it actually happens. We will inculcate my daughters into the fine ritual of carbing and proteining up before the show (read: dinner beforehand). We will show them how to properly rock out to some of the world’s greatest musicians. Afterward, we will take them out to eat again to re-carb and re-protein (yes, those are now verbs). Or at least get some water.

 

I’m excited. My kids are excited (at least I think they are). My wife is … well, she’s trying (right, honey?). God bless her and her patience with my rabid fan-dom. This is going to be one of those moments that I’m going to want to freeze and remember forever. My kids aren’t getting any younger. They’re getting older, coming into their own with likes, music, and shows. Goodness gracious, they’ve actually discovered *boys* (though that was years ago …).

New CD Review: Rush – Clockwork Angels

The moment has arrived.

 

I have heard the new music.

 

The verdict is in.

 

Rush no longer needs–nor have they *ever* needed–the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” With this release, they have inducted themselves into their own hall of fame. Once again, their newest offering triumphs over pretty much everything else that’s available today. The songs are epic (not in the trendy sense of “Whoa … that’s so epic, man!!”), cinematic, and … simply VAST. There are 12 tracks on Clockwork Angels, and every single one of them is a home run. Or a hat trick. Or a Gordie Howe hat trick. In fact, that’s it right there–they are the Gordie Howe hat trick to end all. There’s scoring. There are assists all over the place. And there are brutal, drop-the-gloves, bare-knuckle fights that will rend your soul in two.

“Wait … what? how can there be an actual fight?”

 

Sit back, relax. If you’re reading this on your phone and have Instapaper installed, you might want to open it. This review’s gonna be commute-worthy.

 

This is Rush’s first “concept album” since their heady days of 2112, Hemispheres, Caress of Steel, etc. However, this CD differs from them in that the concept spans THE WHOLE CD. None of their previous concept albums lasted longer than 1 side of an LP. 2112 clocks in at 20:33. Between “The Fountain of Lamneth” and “The Necromancer,” Caress of Steel‘s concept tracks span 31:27. Cygnus X-1: Book 2″ from Hemispheres lasts a “paltry” 18:08.

 

Clockwork Angels is over 65 minutes long, recounting the story of a young man longing to leave his lands. He yearns for the enormity and grandiosity of Crown City. After successfully landing work as a carnival worker in Chronos Square, he falls in love, and is rejected. He seeks comfort by seeking out Cibola–the City of Gold, meanwhile working in the port city of Poseidon.

 

Themes of order, chaos, anger, forgiveness, wonder, love found and lost, heroism, failed journeys … this CD has it all.

 

You know what? Read the book. It comes out in September. The collaborative book between Kevin Anderson (for all you Star Wars novelists, that name should be *extremely* familiar) and Neil Peart expands on the story told by the CD.

 

In truth, I’ve had this CD now for about 5 days. I won’t lie: I downloaded it as soon as it hit the torrent sites. Call me what you will. I have every intention of buying it outright on Tuesday; probably two or three times. So no–I’m not a pirate. I am, however, a die-hard Rush fan, and I make no bones about it.

 

That being the case and knowing that Clockwork Angels was literally days away, I figured it might have leaked. I downloaded it and literally ushered my daughters to the backyard for a couple hours of sprinkler summer fun. Or … late spring, since, you know … it was June 5th. Technically, still spring.

 

The musicianship on the whole CD is ridiculously superb. There have been so many times over the last few days that I’ve just sat here in stunned silence, thinking “I don’t think I’ve ever heard them at this level … and they’ve been doing this for almost 40 years.” And the lyrics … seriously. This is beyond classic Neil; he elevated his game to a whole new level for this go-round. His drumming is equally stratospheric. There are parts that he sounds like he had 10 arms. Geddy pulls out some bass lines that are simply inhuman. “Headlong Flight” has this bass line that just leaves you staring into the distance, wondering how anyone can play all the notes he hits with just one hand. Alex pulls out all the stops on every single song. His solos range from haunting to twisted and everything in between. There are chords that he plays that I’m fairly confident have never been played by ANYone. “Clockwork Angels” has a couple, as does “Headlong Flight.” There are intense, spine-shattering moments, and moments where he plucks what sounds like a 12-string (“The Garden”) that give me the shivers.

 

I queued up “Caravan,” though I’ve had that and “BU2B” memorized since early 2010. I figured if I was going to enjoy the new CD,  I was going to enjoy the whole CD.

 

Even being familiar with the first two tracks through the singles released a couple of years ago, there were subtle differences that were obvious. The echoed chorus at the end of “Caravan,” the lamenting melancholy of the acoustic intro to “BU2B” … even on Neil’s fill before after the second “verse” in “BU2B”, it seems like there’s an extra length to the cymbals. The singles were excellent. The CD versions are even more polished.

 

Eventually, my playlist navigated to track 3, “Clockwork Angels.” This is where the “Gordie Howe hat trick” reference should make a whole lot of sense. There have been a few times in life where music has literally left my jaw hanging on by the sinewy tendrils of my mandibular tendons. This was one of those instances–where the opening leaves you feeling like you just got punched in the gut and had the wind literally knocked out of you. You *want* to breathe, but you can’t. And even if you could, you’re afraid to because you might miss a single, solitary note, and that pain is inexplicably more unbearable than a complete and utter lack of oxygen.

 

“Clockwork Angels” is a lengthy one, clocking it at over 7 and a half minutes. It opens with this sad, echoing, almost gregorian chant performed by Geddy Lee, which follows with an “archer’s lob” of cymbals before the full-on frontal assault hits–a barrage of guitar that sounds like it’s straight out of a “Meddle”-era Pink Floyd song. Specifically, “One of These Days.” And it’s sooooo much more dark and ominous than is the PF track. The opening is at once frantic and frenetic, pummeling you with lefts and rights of guitar and bass upper-cuts that leave you wondering when the beating will ever end. Here’s the thing: you do not WANT it to end. You WANT it. You CRAVE IT. But you are denied as the dynamic completely shifts to this whimsical, light and airy melody that recalls moments of driving through a big city for the first time, with the top down, eyes wide, and drinking in all the grandeur and splendor that you’ve always imagined. For example, imagine you’ve always dreamed of visiting someplace like NYC, Paris, Shanghai … and checking out places like the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, or the Oriental Pearl Tower, Eiffel tower, Louvre … imagine visiting any of these places for the first time. That’s the wonder I felt when the transition hit … except that feeling of wonder and comfort lasts precsiely 21 seconds. That’s all the more time you’re allotted to catch your breath and return your trays and chairs to their original upright positions. The next thing you know, Alex comes roaring back and reminds you just why he’s one of the premiere guitarists of all time, pulling out one of the most ace riffs in the Rush arsenal. Following his assault, Geddy and Neil join in and permanently seal upon you the memory of why you started listening to Rush in the first place. If ever there was a moment where you forgot who these guys used to be, or where their roots are, this song will smack you back to remembrance with all the love and force that you deserve.

 

The lyrics to this are as tight and as Neil-esque as it gets. Here is an excerpt from “Clockwork Angels”:

 

“High above the city square
Globes of light float in mid-air
Higher still, against the night
Clockwork angels bathed in light

 

You promise every treasure, to the foolish and the wise
Goddesses of mystery, spirits in disguise
Every pleasure, we bow and close our eyes
Clockwork angels, promise every prize”

 

When I saw “Carnies” on the track list a few weeks ago, I will admit that I had my reservations. I’m glad I kept those in check. “How I prayed just to get away. To carry me anywhere. Sometimes the angels punish us by answering our prayers.” I love the punch to the song. It has this very “Working Man” vibe to it in the beginning. You’ll read this in the liner notes, but the story behind the song really caught me off guard. I won’t spoil it for you, cuz that’s the fun of reading the liner notes, right?

 

Which is one of the greatest things about this CD. Each track’s lyrics are prefaced by a little back story. It really helps to tie the whole saga together, and it really whets your appetite for the book (again … September, but seriously … this CD will keep you plenty entertained until then).

 

The last track, “The Garden,” is one of the most introspective and philosophically deep songs that the band has ever written. I’m ripping this right out of the liner notes, so please don’t confuse this with anything I’ve written. I could never deign to write as such. Anyway,

 

“LONG AGO I READ A STORY FROM ANOTHER TIMELINE about a character named Candide. He also survived a harrowing series of misadventures and tragedies, then settled on a farm near Constantinople. Listening to a philosophical rant, Candide replied, “That is all very well, but now we must tend our garden.”

 

I have now arrived at that point in my own story. There is a metaphorical garden in the acts and attitudes of a person’s life, and the treasures of that garden are love and respect. I have come to realize that the gathering of love and respect – from others and for myself – has been the real quest of my life.

 

“Now we must tend our garden.”

 

Chills, right? How can you not read that and just weep with hope and aspirations of filling everyone’s lives with joy and love? “The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect. The way you live, the gifts that you give. In the fullness of time, it’s the only return that you expect.” If this is the last song on the last CD that Rush ever releases, they go out on the highest note possible. There are so many things about this song that is good–from the lyrics, to Alex’s solo that is rife with emotion, to the sheer beauty of the song … if you don’t well up and shed at least a single tear, you don’t have soul. Period. I said it, so you know it’s true.

 

Answer me this: how is it that a band that’s been around almost 40 years, and has gone through as many metamorphoses as these guys have, can come back to their roots and completely dominate? Clockwork Angels is their masterpiece, in my opinion. Their classics will always be their classics and their building blocks that got them to this precise stage, where they *can* write this kind of music. This is them at their pinnacle best–the culmination of EVERYTHING they’ve ever been.  This was the CD they were destined to write.

 

In the end, this CD is for every Rush fan that’s ever existed. It’s for every *music* fan that’s ever existed. Clockwork Angels is their definitive work, and if your music collection is without, then your collection isn’t complete.

 

Rush

This morning, I came in to work earlier than normal. A buddy of mine stopped by my desk and asked about some stuff, and we got to talking. Eventually the conversation migrated to the new Rush single, “Headlong Flight.”

“Hey man. Have you heard the new Rush single?”

Buddy: “Not yet. Is it any good?”

*snicker*

me: “Here. Take my phone and listen to it.”

About 10 minutes later, he came back to my desk, shaking his head. “Really, I don’t need to say anything, do I?”All I could do was smile and nod in agreement.

What’s mind-boggling, is that these guys are 58 and 59. Peart will actually be 60 this year. The three songs that have been released from the upcoming CD are some of the best they’ve ever written. Specifically, my favorite is still “BU2B,” but “Headlong Flight” is starting to take over.

Clockwork Angels now comes out June 12, not May 22. Not sure what the reason for the delay is, but whatever. I can listen to these three tracks for now and be happy.

 

New Music Alert: Rush’s Clockwork Angels Due May 22!!

To say that I’ve been looking forward to this CD for years is really kind of pointless. Anyone who is familiar with Rush has had their hopes up for this release since about June 2010. The “teasers,” as it were–“Caravan” and “BU2B” (short-hand for “Brought Up To Believe) were released, and the world felt right. It felt whole. It felt lighter.

Then the wait began. Little did we know that it would be almost 2 years until the new CD would come out.

But we have an official release date! May 22, Clockwork Angels will be released world-wide. That means at midnight, I will be on iTunes, waiting for the CD to “hit.” That also means that I will be going on Amazon later today as soon as they have a pre-order page for Clockwork Angels!!!

I have been following them since I first heard Presto back in 1989. Not gonna lie … it wasn’t my favorite CD at the time. I was in to Metallica, Van Halen, and other bands over them. I wish I could go back in time and tell that kid to appreciate them for what they were then and are now–talent beyond comparability. I even remember Rick Burton lauding the praises of Hold Your Fire and talking of how Neils completely electronic drum set was “revolutionary.” I remember where I was sitting on the bus, where Rick was sitting, and even what he was wearing (which isn’t hard … he *always* wore a gray hoodie over whatever other t-shirt he may or may not have been wearing).

Rush got me through my college years. Rush has been a part of my marriage. Up until 2010, I was severely afraid that I’d never get to attend a Rush concert with my wife. She came on board the Rush train with Vapor Trails, quickly latching on to “Earthshine” as her favorite track.

I think of the sheer joy their music brings me. I think of the incredible quality of their music. The camaradarie the 3 of them share as band mates for almost 40 years. I think of the chance I have to share their music with my kids … and it leaves me breathless, misty-eyed.

I can wait 2+ more months. I may not like waiting, but I have 18 other studio CDs, 9 official concert CDs, and countless bootlegs to keep me company.

AGAHHGHHHGHHDHGHS!

 

So Long, 2011

In all honesty, I’m glad to be leaving this one behind. It’s been a pretty bummer year–especially the last couple of months. But that horse is dead, so I’m not going to beat it anymore. I am MOST EXCITEDLY looking forward to 2012 for any number of reasons. Some great music coming out this year–most notably Rush’s “Clockwork Angels” is due to come out at some point. The first single (Caravan) was released forever ago, along with the “B” track “BU2B.” Cannot wait for the new music.

Also, we’re taking a cross-country trip that’s going to last for 3 weeks. THAT is going to be a lot of fun. Lots of pics, lots of blogging. WHOO!!

But most of all, I’m just excited to be where I am–loving family, great friends, excellent job. I cannot ask for more.

Happy new year, everyone. May your 2012 be the most excellent as possible!

Thank You, NASA

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology…high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare…

These are the lyrics to Rush’s “Countdown” from their Signals album. They were fortunate enough to attend the first shuttle launch in 1981.

I remember watching the first shuttle launch when I was a young kid. It still is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen. Today marks the last launch in NASA’s space shuttle program. As I sit here typing this, my daughters are asleep. I think, anyway. Actually, they’re probably awake. I wouldn’t know … I’m sitting in my cube at work on a typical day off, but there’s too much to do before my project can be released. But I digress.

The shuttle is on track to take off in about 45 minutes. I’m torn between racing home so I can watch this with my girls as my mom watched with me back in April 1981. Racing is starting to win out. I can always come back to work.

Yah. Gotta run. Er … drive.

I’ve been doing this list on Facebook for the last 4 days. If you want to as well, copy and paste the text below.

The idea is to share a little bit about yourself by choosing one song a day, for 30 days.  Introspection is required, but it sounds like fun.  Looking at the list, I can tell that some songs will be easy to choose, while others will require a little bit of thought.  See the list below and if you’re up to the challenge, let me know in the comments below.  Let the sharing begin!

The 30 Day Song Challenge

Day 01 – Your favorite song

Day 02 – Your least favorite song

Day 03 – A song that makes you happy

Day 04 – A song that makes you sad

Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone

Day 06 – A song that reminds of you of somewhere

Day 07 – A song that reminds you of a certain event

Day 08 – A song that you know all the words to

Day 09 – A song that you can dance to

Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep

Day 11 – A song from your favorite band

Day 12 – A song from a band you hate

Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure

Day 14 – A song that no one would expect you to love

Day 15 – A song that describes you

Day 16 – A song that you used to love but now hate

Day 17 – A song that you hear often on the radio

Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio

Day 19 – A song from your favorite album

Day 20 – A song that you listen to when you’re angry

Day 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy

Day 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad

Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding

Day 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral

Day 25 – A song that makes you laugh

Day 26 – A song that you can play on an instrument

Day 27 – A song that you wish you could play

Day 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty

Day 29 – A song from your childhood

Day 30 – Your favorite song at this time last year

My first 4 songs are:

  • Rush – Lock and Key
  • Los del Rio – The Macarena (that song just pisses me off … I don’t know why, but it gets under my skin and burrows like a tapeworm ulcer and festers until my mind erupts in pustules of putrid loathing and disgust)
  • The Weepies – Be My Honeypie. You cannot listen to that song and not smile uncontrollably. It’s a beautiful feeling!
  • Ugly Kid Joe’s version of “Cat’s in the Cradle. I swear, I want to be the best parent ever, but this song … Jumping Jehosephat on a hot tin roof sundae. I can’t make it through without having to fight the urge to bawl uncontrollably. Maybe it’s because I never had a good, solid father figure growing up, and now that I’m in charge of two kids, it scares the squishy shit out of me because I do not want them to go through what I went through. Don’t get me wrong–my mom was as saintly and wonderful as it gets, and God bless my step dad’s heart … he tried, but how do you dive in with a 14 year old and a 10 year old? That would be so mind-bendingly insane to try to adjust to! I give him credit for trying, but … I don’t know. Gah.

Anyway, there’s the list so far. It’s a fun list!

In Honor of the Fallen

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger’s final ascent into the heavens. With her, she took Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Michael Smith and Ellison Onizuka on their final flight. 73 seconds into the launch, an O-ring on one of the solid rocket boosters failed, causing an explosion that destroyed the shuttle.

To those who have served in the space program, I thank you. To those who have lost loved ones to the space program disasters, I thank you for sharing your family, your friend, with us who have so much to gain from the furthering of science and education.

These 7 died in a tragic accident that sure, probably could have been avoided. But in their memory, children from around the country–probably from around the world–have taken up the mantle and have made their career choices early on. Astronauts. Scientists. Doctors. Discoverers. Some of the children who sat in classrooms 25 years ago are the pioneers into new fields of study that weren’t even around in the mid-80s. It’s possible–probable–that those children derived part of their fire and desire from “the seven.”

In honor of the fallen, I choose to remember the shuttle program with this offering from the band Rush, who were privilegdged enough to be in attendance at the first launch. Read the words. Feel them. This was the inaugural flight into a whole new era of education and understanding of space.

Here are the lyrics.

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology…high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare…

 Again, a million thank yous to “the seven.” And to EVERYONE who stands up for education, science, and the determination to learn from the past and look to the future.

Living in the Limelight: A Rush Concert Review

How?

I mean, seriously. These guys are close to 60. You know? What are they still doing on stage?

What they do best: playing insanely incredible music.

I’ve seen some amazing bands. Muse, Tool, Silversun Pickups … Rush tops them all.

They played 2 new tracks, entitled “BU2B” and “Caravan.” Both were unbelievable. Keep in mind that these guys have been around for over 36 years. And they STILL put out amazing music. Not just amazing–phenomenal. Superb. Think of a superlative adjective. It will work.

The opening of the second set is one of the main reasons I went to the show. Moving Pictures is considered their foremost recording to date. To be sure, it stands the test of time extremely well. Released in 1981, it contains some of their best work, like “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” “YYZ” (one of the best instrumentals EVER), “Red Barchetta,” but then there are songs like “The Camera Eye” that are probably too long to garnish any radio time but far and away is one of the best songs they’ve ever written. “Witch Hunt” and “Vital Signs” are fantastic. There’s a reason this CD is considered a part of the rock and roll pantheon.

To hear the ENTIRE CD played live is an experience I’m sure that will never be repeated. For one, they have 19 CDs. To isolate one and continuously play it front to back at every show from here forward would, in my mind, diminish the roles of their other works. But for this tour–their “Time Machine” tour, they played every song on that CD, in the order they originally appeared.

And thanks to Steve Jobs and the Apple Family, I got it all in high def 720p. Thank you, iPhone! I will post vids when I can, but for now, know that they’re out there for the finding.

The pics aren’t the greatest, but under such low light, it’s not surprising. Some of them turned out really well though. Again, I’ll post those when I can.

They pulled out some gems for this tour, too. “Marathon” hasn’t been heard since about 1990, but “Presto” has *never* been played live … and we got to hear it!!! WHOO! “Faithless,” off of Snakes and Arrows, wasn’t played last tour, but they played it last night. One of the stand-out songs on that CD.

This is Neil’s drum solo. Shot in HD with my iPhone. I seriously love that thing. I can blog, take pics and vids and post all from the convenience of my phone.

Shot in HD with my iPhone. I seriously love that thing. I can blog, take pics and vids and post all from the convenience of my phone.

Here’s the entire set list, copied in portion from Cygnus X-1’s site:

Set One
Introduction Video – Rash: The Real History of Rush — Episode No. 2 “Don’t Be Rash” — Goofy take on The Spirit of Radio — Polka/Disco/Country Version with Alex in a fat suit, Neil as an Irish Cop and Geddy…oy, you have to see it I say…

  • The Spirit of Radio
  • Time Stand Still
  • Presto — (with vintage magic show footage playing)
  • Stick It Out — (with original Stick it Out video playing)
  • Workin’ Them Angels — (same video from Snakes & Arrows tour)
  • Leave That Thing Alone — (same video from Vapor Trails tour)
  • Faithless — (with dream landscape video playing)
  • BU2B — (with “old typewriter typing out the lyrics to the song” video playing)
  • Freewill
  • Marathon — (with extended guitar solo)
  • Subdivisions

Intermission

Introduction Video – Rash: The Real History of Rush — Episode No. 17 “And Rock And Roll Is My Name ” — Geddy on Drums, Neil on Guitars, Alex on Bass

Note: Most songs from Moving Pictures is preceeded by a short second Monty Python-esque video featuring the Parliament Building and/or the red-suited movers in one way or another.

  • Tom Sawyer
  • Red Barchetta — (Ferrarri 166MM pulls up with a race car number 2112 on the door)
  • YYZ
  • Limelight
  • The Camera Eye — (with NYC and London scenes video playing)
  • Witch Hunt
  • Vital Signs
  • Caravan — (Steampunk theme video featuring blimps flying over a burned out world playing)
  • Drum Solo (Love 4 Sale) — (Steampunk Robot Drummer video playing)
  • Alex Lifeson Solo leading into…
  • Closer to the Heart
  • 2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx
  • Far Cry — (same video from Snakes & Arrows tour)

Encore

  • La Villa Strangiato — (Geddy & Alex Playing a Polka-inspired intro)
  • Working Man — (With Reggae-inspired intro)

So, you can see that the set list was spread out. Some CDs weren’t represented, but when you have 19 studio albums to select from, there are going to be some neglected works, obviously.

Here’s the thing with Rush. You never know what to expect. From the opening videos all the way to the band walking off the stage after the encore … you never know what to expect. Even after the show was over, it still wasn’t over. If you’ve never seen “I Love You Man,” the movie at the end would have made no sense. Thankfully, my brother pointed that out to me, so I watched it the night before the show. Thankfully! It was hilarious. Peter Klaven and Sydney Fife. That’s all I’m going to say. HA HA HA!!

To the band, even though I’m fairly confident you’ll never read this, thank you. You guys are world-class, and I’m glad you guys keep making incredible music. We are the fortunate ones who get to indulge in your offerings for decades to come. For this, we can never repay you other than offering our heart-felt and sincerest thanks.

Here are some pics I snapped last night. Keep in mind, iPhone camera from about 25 yards away in the dark. They’re not the worst, but they’re not the best.

Rush in August

Section 202, row C, seats 1-3.

Can.

Not.

Wait.

They will be playing their entire Moving Pictures album to open their second set. The best song on there is “The Camera Eye,” in my opinion. The whole CD is phenomenal, but that song in particular is just shudder-inducing.

There are many things for which I’m thankful in life: my family, friends, house, working car, job … in my mind, everything is a gift, and I’m grateful for it all because there could come a time that I won’t have these things, so while I have them, I’m extremely happy to have them. One of those things is my passion for music. Just because I don’t write every day doesn’t mean I’m not blasting something or exploring something new.

Today is a day of exploration, of sorts. I’ve been listening to Rush since the late 80s, circa Presto. At first, I didn’t “get it;” I wondered what the mystique was to this band. it took going away to college and meeting James (whose last name escapes me) to really start diving in. Since then, I haven’t looked back. Ever. Yes, other bands have come and gone, but there are few bands that have the staying power Rush has.

So in the spirit of the upcoming show, I’ve been in a Rush mood for about a month. I bought “Beyond the Lighted Stage” and watched it until 1 in the morning while my wife blissfully slept through it. I knew that Alex Lifeson was an amazing guitarist, but … seriously? You listen to songs like “Finding My Way” or “Working Man,” and you know that better things are coming down the pike with the addition of Neil Peart. So this documentary has footage of the band WAY back in their early days, before they even had a contract. To watch Alex on stage was mind-blowing.

If you haven’t gotten into these guys because you “can’t stand that guy’s voice,” I pity you. While I acknowledge that his voice is not everyone’s favorite, you can’t get around the talent.  Especially in the later albums. Everyone will praise and Laud Robert Plant or Dennis DeYoung with their similar high-pitched voices, but mention Geddy Lee and people start cringing–the very same people who will listen to Styx or Zepplin for hours on end. Shame. Both other bands have long ago thrown in the towel. Rush is working on their 19th studio album. They’ve been around for almost 40 years. How can anyone deny their greatness?!

Whatever. Rant over. You can not like Rush all you want. If you want my unbridled opinion (and you might as well accept the fact that I’m going to give it to you anyway: my blog, my rants!), until you recognize their status as “legendary power trio,” you will *never* be able to converse intelligently about music. Sorry … that’s just me. And millions of other fans.

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