Twenty Five Years Late – Better Than Never

Last week – Wednesday – I earned another stripe on my Canadian credentials: I saw Rush play. M was offered a couple of comps on her way out of work, and happily brought them home to me to have, as long as I didn’t make her come with. So Kro and I raced over to the Molson Amphitheatre (first time there, too) and took our Box Seats and our anthropological stances, and watched.

I say “anthropological stances” rather than “eager grins” or “beaming mugs” because two and a half full decades had passed between our being Rush fans and this concert. And Rush aren’t Pink Floyd: I’m sure at a Floyd show you’d have great chances of hearing the stuff you liked after 25 years away. But Rush keep on keeping on, and so a lot of songs were played we had no idea about. No worries for the band, though – many thousands of loyal and up-to-date fans surrounded us, wearing the tshirts and paraphernalia of the last 35 or 40 years.

A VIP booklet sitting in the box seats let us know that if we wanted, we could drop thousands of dollars on Rush shit – from the fairly priced 20 dollar shirts to the ridiculous 700 dollar Rush leather jacket, which we saw someone wearing. I thought is was cool that pretty much every album’s shirt was available – a good idea – and I did consider getting a Caress Of Steel shirt, but realized that my ironical wearing of that shirt might be sort of dickish.

In fact, both of us felt dickish at points during the show, sitting in those good seats, knowing that there were kids from Sarnia and Sudbury there who’d made a pilgrimage with saved up bread and had to choose between beer or a t-shirt. If I was a nicer man, I thought, I’d have given the seats to one of them. But I’d been that kid, and not gotten even as close as the right city: in 1983, my buddy’s dad had promised to drive us to see Rush in Detroit, and then just … forgotten. So, a quarter of a century late, I was filling in an old soul hole.

So: how was the show? Fun, basically, but not actually exciting. For one thing, I knew few of the songs – a 2112 medley was cool, Spirit of Radio and the obligatory (awesome) pieces from Moving Pictures were great. There were way more women there than I had predicted, and the age range of the fans was enormous – from 60 to 6, really. The crowd were very excited, very loud. There were flashpots and fireworks and lasers and dragons, as well as some mysterious “roasted chicken” theme we couldn’t figure out. The band played the solos pretty much note for note, which gave me pause for thought, but they seemed happy to do it. I saw the only 15 minute drum solo I am likely to ever see. And I saw YYZ played live and loud, so I can tick that off my list. In fact, they saved it for the climax, which made me wonder how many instrumental anthems held such a spot.

Here’s them doing that in Rio some years ago, care of youtube, pretty much exactly the way me and Kro saw it last Wednesday. Rock on.



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