Fools Rush In
I hate being wrong….especially when it comes to music. I don’t consider myself an expert per se, but having been around the music industry since I was 18 and writing professionally for the past decade, I like to think of myself as being fairly on point.
I have been extraordinarily lucky too…I’ve interviewed several of my idols—everyone from Zakk Wylde to Steve Vai..and I’ve been stage front covering bands from MUSE to Motorhead. Hell I even have proof that I have sat on Lemmy’s lap but nothing prepared me for what I had managed to avoid for 20 years.
You got it..my first RUSH concert.
I couldn’t have dreaded anything more.
I didn’t contact management for backstage passes. I didn’t take my camera. Hell, I didn’t even pull out my leather pants. ..and I didn’t contact any of my editors to see if they wanted to run my review as a cover feature. I was a reluctant passenger on a fly by night snowy owl on a headlong flight into mystery.
I arrived, made my way to my VIP seats…ok..I at least didn’t pay for the tickets…I mean that just would be wrong…and I sat down wondering how long I’d have to wait before the shrieking would begin. I had been told that the band was always punctual but seriously who actually starts on time?
I glanced at my watch and on the stroke of 8 the lights suddenly went down and the screens behind the stage begin to show video. There were cartoons, illustrations, interviews, voice overs….and this wasn’t some 8th grade science presentation –my eyes were trying to keep up with what felt like a Spielberg movie when all of a sudden the opening notes of “The Anarchist” began. The crowd went wild and I went silent.
So this is RUSH. Three guys , four decades and 20,000 or so of my closest friends.
This was sounding good. Really good.
As the band moved from tracks picked from the majority of their catalog including “Clockwork Angel”, “Snakes and Arrows”, “Vapor Trails”, “Counterparts” and “Grace Under Pressure”…I realized that all of the snide jokes and requests to never hear “Tom Sawyer” again, were falling by the wayside as I recognized I knew more lyrics than I had ever admitted to and this 3 piece was tight but not taught.
I didn’t hear any missteps , no one missed their cue….it was a well-oiled machine, power driving through one song after another until 22 or so songs later I was trying to figure out what album hadn’t been represented. I left while they were playing “Anthem”…and made my way out to the corridor of the coliseum. I could hear the rest of the encore as I made my way to one of the merch stands. Yeah. I’m that chick. The Rush Girls Rock with the tee shirt.
I felt it was the least I could do.
I had complained that Geddy Lee sounded like a squirrel on helium, their songs were always 2 minutes too long, Neil was just collecting drums, he wasn’t really playing all of them and Alex valiantly chugged along in the other’s shadows.
I realized I had been wrong, really wrong. Ok…I still say that Lee’s vocals are not for the faint of heart, his register takes some getting used to but the wall of sound produced around him isn’t smoke and mirrors, it’s the real deal. RUSH will never be that band you can dance to -they have been too busy experimenting with compositions, song structures and lyrical content. Sure it can be a bit verbose and pedantic and these are also the guys who thought kimonos were height of rock star fashion, but at the end of the day I realized they’ve been true to themselves, their music and their fans. Not many bands can stake that claim especially after 40 years.
So to the band of brothers from Toronto, the common sons– I humbly apologize. I was wrong to judge you on a few songs that made AOR radio many years ago. I may not own all of your albums and cds, but you can lay claim and ownership of my respect.
I listened to your music and heard what it can do.