Laughed At By Time
Much to my surprise, I found myself at a Rush concert Sunday night. My friend Bob Sox scored a fistful of comps from the radio station he works at, and distributed them amongst the D Room crowd. God bless the Sox!
The turnout was impressive for the pre-show gathering at Dix. Must have been the $2.50 draft. Mr. Black was there, as were the be-touqued Mr. and Mrs. Smash. Sox, Malty, Gregarious and Scum made the scene. Even the Shockker showed up for some caffeination. Gerald the Rattlehead (in a Dream Theater shirt, natch) was holding court in the corner.
We took off for GM Place around 7:00. Gig time was 7:30, and we had the feeling it would s tart on schedule—this is Rush we’re talking about, after all.
Scum and I had seats along the side, five rows up from the floor. Soon after I sat down, JR caught my attention. He and Rob were a couple sections over. I began to think that everyone I’d ever known was here. Perhaps that was my aunt Agnes over by the lighting board, chatting with Mr. Jameson, my grade six P.E. teacher. Maybe I’d bump into me old rhythm section partner Mike Schmidt by the merchandise stand (t-shirts—$35; Rush wallet—$20; Neil Peart’s new book—$30; being at a rock concert where they sell cotton candy—priceless).
The pre-show music was the usual interesting mix. I’ve always wondered if the band programs this themselves. I remember reading something back in the days of the “new wave” about them playing Talking Heads and suchlike in an effort to open the ears of their fans. And at one of the first Rush shows I attended I recall “Battlescar” (that majestic Max Webster/Rush collaboration) roaring out of the P.A., with an attendant cheer from the crowd that was nearly as loud as the start of the concert proper. A truly Canadian moment from the early ’80s. On Sunday we were primed with “Locomotive Breath” and the Chili Peppers’ version of “Higher Ground.”
Then the lights went down and Rush played “Tom Sawyer.”
At intermission I hung out in the concourse with some of our entourage and watched the people. Who goes to Rush concerts nowadays? The same people who went in 1978, basically. Plus their kids. There were also lots of rocker ladies, and more malformed people than I’d seen since my last evening at Studebaker’s. As I’d predicted, a sizable lineup for the men’s toilet formed quite quickly, while the ladies could walk right into theirs. Heh.
Next time: 6,000 Rush songs, air drumming, and who brought the tot?