Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rush! Live!!

Every time I hear a Rush song -- which is often -- I fall into a sad silence. Of triumphs unclaimed. Possibilities deflated. Failures realized.

It's not simple sentimentality, but the '76-Second Travel Show' episode that never was.

A few months ago I went to Rush's hometown Toronto and 'followed the band' -- with stops at the Rush office, Alex Lifeson's club, Alex and Geddy Lee's favorite sandwich shop and high school, and -- most memorably -- the suburban high school where they shot their quintessentially Rush video 'Subdivisions'; the principal suggested they do a Rush musical and invite me back, we talked while going through old yearbooks to find the subject of the video, Dave Glover, whom I'd later meet for coffee to talk Rush, rock, teen life and the meanings of that song's immortal line 'conform or be cast out.' He had a lot to say on it.

But my external mic had a short. Essentially all of the footage was lost.

As part of my healing process, I saw Rush for the first time in 25 years Sunday. I joined a sea of goatees, Giants jerseys, tummy pudge, raised fists and guys willing to sing along to songs from days long after Rush's albums started to mean less and less.

Rush have funny fans. Even in my peak Rush days, I was never sure I qualified as a 'Rush fan.' It takes a special quality to accept the band's distrust of anything resembling danceable rhythm, along with impossible time signatures, 12-minute songs and lyrics dealing with black holes, necromancers, Kubla Khan and Ayn Rand. Rush fans? Mostly male dorks in their 30s and 40s. And very very very few, if any, women.

In Toronto, a local fan -- and there weren't as many as you'd expect -- explained that the lyrics were 'too smart' for women. But it's not true! (Watch this stunner scene of young models dancing to Rush in BRAZIL.) And I was happy to see several women at Madison Square Garden, singing along to some songs and even swaying to brief moments when drummer Neil Peart stooped to the 4/4 beat.

Still, my lost interview with Dave Glover really smarts.

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