During a particularly stressful day at work - one of those days where every little thing that gets asked of you starts to build up to the point where you want to lash out irrationally at unsuspecting pedestrians on the street - my frustration and general fatigue deflated when I stumbled into a conversation with a fellow coworker and music fan in the bathroom, which is sadly the only stress-free room in the office building.
He prompted a question: Are you a fan of Rush?
A fan... hmm, I replied. I wouldn't say I'm a fan per se, but I definitely appreciate Rush.
Well they're playing tonight in San Jose and a couple friends bailed on tickets. Want in?
That sounds good... only thing is write this column for a guitar website every Thursday night, which generally takes a while... I don't know, I may have to sit this out.
Okay, well let me know.
I returned to my desk, blinked a few times, and realized the pure stupidity of merely entertaining the notion of not going. What was I thinking? Of course I'm going to go see Rush tonight!
So here I am, finished with work and able to cram a few minutes of writing in before we leave for the show. As is my dedication to my UG readers and my insatiable thirst to hear my own voice spew out nonsense in a word processing document every week, I'm still going to get this blog in. IN I TELL YOU!
So before the show, I'll give some of my current thoughts Rush.
Like I said before - never been a huge fan, yet I hold a great respect for the band. I suppose I always found Geddy Lee's voice to be a little shrill. I figure his voice is an acquired taste, but I haven't listened to too many Rush albums to develop an appetite.
Outside of the band's reputation as wise progressive rock masters and expert musicians, my knowledge of their music is rather limited. I have Moving Pictures and know the hits, but I couldn't go toe-to-toe with those Rush fanatics on band trivia. And if the movie I Love You Man, is any indication, Rush HAS those fanatics... mostly dudes.
I did manage to see their recent documentary Beyond The Lighted Stage, which was extremely well done. The guys came off as very intelligent and level headed, which is probably a testament as to why they have been able to have such a lasting career. They just really came off as likeable dudes. No douchebaggery present.
So although I'm not super knowledgeable about the band, I root for them. Nerd rock, prog rock, thinking-man's rock whatever you call it, Rush has sustained a decade spanning career and needless to say, I'm intrigued to see what the virtuoso drummer Neal Peart, innovative bassist Geddy Lee and axeman Alex Lifeson have to deliver live. It's gotta be good right?... they're RUSH!
Talk amongst yourselves and I'll get back to you after the show...
(5 hours later)
Uh. Yeah. Rush is pretttayyy, prettayy, pretty amazing.
They played for nearly 3 hours. Pyro, flares, revolving drumkits, brilliant light show, kooky screen animations... a live string section! The show exceeded my expectations for sure!
Because my brain is still trying to wrap itself around the concert experience (and since it's 1:30 in the AM), here's a fragmented review:
Rush can PLAY. I knew that going into the show, but seeing it live really makes it quite apparent that they have been playing together for 30 years and are such a tight band. Individually, each member stands out and has incredible chops, but as a unit, they gel perfectly. Even with Neal Peart's busy drumming, all musical elements mesh together.
And speaking of Peart he's truly an amazing drummer. Encircled by two drumsets, his riser would rotate at various points in the show and he'd take some interesting drum solos. One of his drumsets was electric, which triggered various sounds and note values. This enabled him to really make music out of his drum solos. Kinda speechless...
A significant portion of the set involved songs from Rush's new album, Clockwork Angels; it didn't matter that they favored the new stuff because the new stuff is great songs like The Wreckage, The Garden and Caravan, accompanied by the live string section, really came off as symphonic rock at its best.
And of course, the hits were spot on and packed a punch - YYZ, Tom Sawyer, 2112 and The Spirit Of Radio, killed. Crowd went nuts. Crowd ate up every minute of the 3-hour set. Crowd went home happy.
So anyway, that's me popping my Rush cherry. Safe to say, this concert definitely inspired me to start exploring more of Rush's catalog. Maybe you have a similar experience. For any Rush fans in here, please share your thoughts and feelings on the band and why you dig them so much.
Now it's time for some sleep... pardon any typos.
On the Next 'End Of The Week As We Know It':
After hearing ex-Iron Maiden singer Paul Di'Anno's onstage criticism of Bruce Dickinson's gay operatic vocals, Maiden, not wanting to seem fruity, fires Bruce Dickinson and welcomes back Di'Anno.
Sebastian Bach's new project, which will apparently revolutionize popular music as we know it, is pure gold; Bach skyrockets to international fame and has Justin Bieber, Bon Jovi and One Direction open for his international tour.
Enraged after learning that Disney has banned Machine Head from performing on Disney owned property, the band retaliates by ritualistically breaking all their children's Disney-related toys and movies.
By Zach Pino Twitter: @zachpino