Rush is one of those bands that I should have been listening to since I started getting into fantasy and sci-fi, but for one reason or another I never really listened to. I’d heard of them sure, but never listened to one of their albums clean through.
Until I was introduced to the greatness that is 2112. After I first heard it and started desciphering the lyrics I was hooked. That one song, if you can call it a single song, kept my iPod busy for nearly half a week straight before I even moved onto their other classics.
So when I heard an ad saying that they were playing Boston as part of their new tour, I immediately called up Mike and informed him that we were going. Of course, he’d already heard of it though, and had a date set and tickets ready to buy.
Instead of Boston we’d chosen Manchester since it was a ton cheaper, a slightly better venue, and nearly a month earlier than the Boston shows.
And so, I headed up. Friday night, Mike and I met at a park and ride a bit North of his place and started the mostly-short drive into Manchester. On the way we had an interesting run-in with salesmen outside a Dunkin Donuts trying to throw paint on Mikes car, so they could show off a hood-cleaner (he nearly killed them), but otherwise the ride up was pretty boring and full of random Engineer-talk.
The fun really started when we sat down next to Rush’s drummer at the bar we’d chosen for dinner. It wasn’t actually Neil of course, but the guy seriously looked so much like him that even I did a double-take as we sat down to the bar. We started chatting with the guys, hearing about their front-row seats (the jerks) and shooting the shit with the Bartender. It was packed to capacity, something that the bartender said never happens, but as soon as word got out that the main doors to the show were open, the place was a ghost town within seconds.
Except for Mike and I, of course. That’s the whole advantage to buying tickets (and thus assigned seats) ahead of time, right? So we leisurely finished up our beers, said goodbye to the bartender and the waitresses, paid out the tabs, and headed over to find our undoubtedly amazing seats.
And they were honestly some of the best in the house. Some people want the front row, and some want box-office suites. Not me – Directly above the stage, a bit to the front, is my ideal. That way you’ve got the whole show lined up right in front of you, and no part of the stage is hidden from what we can see. The cheap seats are the good ones, if you ask me. There is always the danger of being seated right behind a support column though… but thankfully we weren’t so unlucky this time around.
And then, Rush took the stage.
No opening band, no MC, just… Rush.
And everyone saw that it was good.
More than good – the show was epic. I’d never been to a true “arena rock” concert before, and I honestly don’t think there are many, if any, bands left touring that can control an arena quite as well as Rush did. They easily filled the massive Verizon Arena, and the energy coming off the stage was nearly enough to keep me knocked back in my seat. Almost.
The set itself was almost an exhibit of its own – massive “science equipment” pulled straight from a mad scientists lair adorned the whole stage, and every once in a while an extra would walk up and start adjusting the knobs and dials as the band played in front of him. I think there was even a popcorn machine somewhere…
The show went on for ages. Seriously, new-age bands can learn a thing or two about stamina from these three guys. There was an intermission, complete with a few drunken assholes running around like idiots, but the show went on for at least three hours of nearly uninterrupted rocking.
Once it was actually over (they did two encores, one of which was Tom Sawyer, and then had a teaser video on the stage screen) Mike and I headed back to the cars. Traffic was hell, complete with random super-duty trucks trying to drive over us “small fry” – thankfully Mike’s brakes worked quite well, though we stopped with less than a foot to spare. With that, we wisely decided to trust my old-remembered knowledge of Manchester, and took a few winding back roads to find our way back onto the highway, and onto our way home.