Most people that know me know I’m a Rush fan. My first time seeing Rush live was on February, 27th 1980 in Kansas City. I drove over two hours from the little town I lived in to get to Municipal Auditorium. I was pretty fired up for my first Rush show! I had been listening to the band since I first got my hands on a copy of 2112 in the summer of 1976. Since that first show, I’ve gone on to see the band about 30 times or so. When I received the news of Neil’s passing, it hit hard.
As fans do, and not knowing the extent of Neil’s illness, we were all holding out hope that there would be another show after the R40 tour. I caught three dates on that tour, Tulsa, Omaha, and KC, which proved to be their last. Nobody thought there would be another tour but perhaps a one-off somewhere? I suggested to my friends that Rush follow Aerosmith’s lead by doing a residency in Las Vegas. That would eliminate the travel portion of the deal. The hopes of “one more show” were dashed when the family released the news that Neil had passed last Tuesday, January 7th.
There are many highlights in the shows I’ve seen. One was the “Signals” World Tour which I caught in KC on October 16th, 1982. Me and a couple of my college buddies road-tripped to KC from Springfield. Missouri and crashed at a friends house. We partied pretty hard that night! I do remember the show! You never wanted to get to wound before a Rush show. No way do you want to not remember any of the performance!
The “Hold Your Fire” show in KC was cool because it was one of the few times the band had an opening act. That opener was none other than local hero’s The Rainmakers! A couple more highlights were on the “Time Machine Tour.” That 2010 tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the “Moving Pictures” release was amazing in that the band played the album in its entirety and I caught it three times! Once at the beautiful Starlight Amphitheater. Another was in Wichita, Kansas at the new Intrust Bank Arena. For that show, the Classic Rock and Rock radio stations I managed were the “presenting” stations.
Being the host stations meant I could purchase quality tickets to the concert. I snagged a couple of front row tickets for my son and I. I also got my hands on a couple of backstage passes to meet Geddy and Alex. Even though he didn’t know all the music, my son Jonah was wide-eyed and focused on the spectacle in front of him. He leaned on the barricade all night soaking it all in. A father passing along to his son the love and passion of my favorite band was a special night I’ll never forget. Nor will he.
Farewell King Neil….the greatest drummer and percussionist of all time. We will miss you but the music you helped create will live forever!