It always comes back to Rush.

This is a repost of something I wrote a couple of years ago on Facebook, it’s cross posted there too.

It always comes back to Rush. Why does it always come back to Rush? It just always comes back to those three guys from Canada. It just does.

I just watched the new documentary about Rush, “Beyond the Lighted Stage”. Like the famously cliched review, “I laughed, I cried…”, I was touched in surprising ways.

Movies about rock bands are a dime a dozen and most of them are as forgettable as the bands they expose. Not this time. Maybe because this is not the story of rock stars, but three life-long friends.

Anyway, it always comes back to Rush for me. I, like many fans my age, discovered Rush with their fourth album 2112. To say that it blew my high school mind wouldn’t be completely accurate, in hindsight. Really how many of us, as sixteen year olds have much of a mind to blow? Oh sure, we fancy ourselves intellectual or sophisticated, but come on… now we all know better don’t we?

It probably wasn’t until they were on their tragic and unintentional sabbatical in the 1990s that I really came to appreciate their profound influence on me. I came across their live album “Different Stages” and became reacquainted with my old friends. That album came out at about the same time we first had internet access at home. So, like many fans of many artists, I had access to the Rush fan community like never before. It was there that I found out what had been happening with what had once been my favorite band. I read about Neil’s tragic loss of his daughter and wife. I explored releases that I wasn’t that familiar with, and heard the rumors of the bands return. Hell, I didn’t even know they’d been away! Some fan I was!

The last dozen or so years have been amazingly prolific for the band, and I’ve been there at every step. As soon as their latest tour was announced I did two things that I’m not know for – I paid the premium for a premium ticket and I bought only one ticket. Going to concerts alone is not something I’m fond of doing, I like to share the experience, but this time it felt like the right thing to do. Man, Sept 18th can’t get here soon enough!

So, anyway, why does it always come back to Rush? Well, I don’t want to start quoting lyrics that have had an impact because there are too many. It’s not just the lyrics. Some of the instrumentals touch me in a most powerful way. That might be hard to understand, but it’s true. Jazz legend Charlie Parker said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” That explains so much to me about the power of instrumental music. There is life in those notes. To me, it’s as simple as that. There is life in there. Life.

Let me summarize this ramble this way. If you want to truly understand me, you have to understand Rush. You don’t have to like them, but you must understand them. Now, I know some could care less and that’s fine. Hell, sometimes I don’t even care. But I’ve come to realize that I understand more about myself through their music than just about any other way these days. They inspire me like no other artists.

That being said, here is a short list of essential Rush tracks.

Closer to the Heart
Spirit of Radio
Entre Nous
La Villa Strangiato
Working Man
Anthem
Tom Sawyer
Limelight
Free Will
Far Cry
YYZ

Ok, maybe not so short, but it could be much longer!

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