A Rush Of Disappointment

There are two songs I want played at my funeral. One is "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. The other is "Jump Around" by House of Pain. Oops, I guess there are three of them.

The third is "Time Stand Still" by Rush.

It's funny how songs change over the years, right? I mean, let's take "Everlong" by The Foo Fighters as an example. I used to hear the song (the acoustic version is my favorite) and imagine me and Dave Grohl singing it together after making love in my bed, in those sweet moments before he realizes he's covered in dog hair. Now, I will forever think of David Letterman's last show. Because they decided to use the song, reportedly David L.'s favorite tune ever, as the sendoff for the show, complete with a video montage of vintage Dave and guests. So much for the furry fantasy.

Back to my funeral: so I love the Rush song "Time Stand Still". When I was a beer-chugging fangirl back in the 80's and early 90's, the song was sweet because OMG Aimee Mann was in it! Now that I am older, and have reproduced, the song has a different meaning. It's an ode to wistfulness we experience as time passes by us, and how awesome it would be if we could slow things down for just a little bit. I have the song in my iTunes and dammit if I don't get a little choked up every time shuffle spits it out at me.

"Summer's going fast, nights growing colder
Children growing up, old friends growing older
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger"

See? Right in the gut, I tell you.

So it stands to reason that when Rush announced they were coming to Minneapolis, my homie Danielle and I were bound and determined to go.

Neither one of us has a lot of spare cash, or time. So dropping the $$ required to see three old dudes jamming on a stage inside of a giant entertainment center was no small sacrifice. In hindsight, probably not the brightest financial move, but sometimes you just have to shake your fists at the heavens and scream out, "LET ME BE ENTERTAINED!".

Danielle found us some sweet main floor seats on Craigslist, and we counted down the days with mirthful glee. I listened to all of my favorite Rush tunes while out on my walks, we debated the intelligence of buying souvenir t-shirts and we annoyed all of our family and friends with constant blathering about the Rush concert. We posted several variations of this video all the live long day, and quoted it, out loud and often:

Finally, the day arrived. We drove downtown a little early, to meet a couple of friends before the show for a cocktail and some food. It was a gorgeous Minneapolis spring day, we had the windows down and chattered excitedly on the drive.

Just two middle-aged ladies, with 8 kids between us, ready to be rocked. The air in my little Ford Focus was charged with electricity and also the smell of vodka and olives. I might have had a martini to calm my pre-concert nerves. (don't worry, Danielle drove. She always does.)

The concert was in St. Paul, at the Xcel Energy Center...home of the mighty Minnesota Wild hockey team. Driving is a mofo in downtown St. Paul, and parking isn't much better. But we did find a spot, and made our way to the show.

The first sign that we were no longer in our typical suburban mom world? ALL THE MEN. It was a veritable sausage fest in St. Paul. And most of the sausages were wearing Rush t-shirts. We stood out in the crowd not only because we had breasts, but also because we were wearing cute lady clothes. And jewelry.

Our seats were wonderful, on the floor and with a great view of the stage. Here we are moments before the Holy Trinity of Rock began playing:

Moments after we took this, the smell of marijuana started wafting through the air. Was it 1986 again??
Then, it happened. The lights dimmed and amid laser beams and pyrotechnics, the three members of Rush took the stage: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Our hearts thumped along with the beat, and we looked at each other with animated glee. We were here! In the same room as Rush! And the smell of pot!

We waited patiently for one of our favorite songs to happen. And we waited some more. They had some funny videos playing, including this one:

Which was funny, of course, because I refer to all of my friends as hens. So we were LOLing about that, when BOOM it was Tom Sawyer time. YES! Finally, a song we knew and could do some serious slappin' da bass to. We were happy, and ready for more.

Only, there wasn't much more. It seems as though Rush decided this tour was going to be more of an in-depth journey into their song catalog. Meaning, most of the songs fans like Danielle and I know and love, the more "mainstream" hits, were left off the set list.

Now, we will be the first ones to admit we're not hardcore fans. We don't own albums from back in the day and haven't spent hours in our bedrooms, with doors locked and headphones on, absorbing the wisdom from Rush.

No. We are basically fair-weather fans. We like the songs they play on the radio. We love Tom Sawyer and Limelight and Fly By Night and Freewill. AND TIME STAND STILL.

As the concert wore on and the songs that floated above us were completely unknown to us, we looked like this:


Apparently, we were the only ones feeling cheated. As I looked around us, I saw thousands of men (and three women), standing in place and furiously air-drumming along to these songs I didn't know. I made eye contact with one of the women, and she smiled at me. Her smile said "Hey, fellow vagina-owner! I see you don't recognize these songs, either. The good news is, if you have to pee, there's no line!"

She was right. Intermission came, and we went out in search of a bathroom. Here is a picture of what the Ladies Room looks like at a Rush concert. During intermission.

It was so quiet in there.
Turns out, they only played three songs that we really liked: Tom Sawyer, The Spirit of Radio and Closer To The Heart.

No Fly By Night.
No Limelight.
No Freewill.


A friend of ours, who was also there, kind of mocked us in our indignation. Apparently we aren't "real fans". Not hardcore enough, I guess.

I get that. It's kind of how I feel when I hear people say how much they love Joss Whedon and then when you mention Dr. Horrible or some other random Whedon creation they have a blank stare for a sec and then talk about whether or not Captain America is going to be killed off in the next Avengers movie.

Or, someone who says they are big fans of Stephen King and yet they've never read some of his lesser-known works. Or his book "On Writing". Or any of the Dark Tower series. But they love The Shining! And The Stand!

But that doesn't mean they aren't true fans. And I'm betting Joss and Stephen would be just as happy to discuss their massively popular works as they would their non-mainstream ones.

Rumor has it that one of the reasons Rush doesn't play some of their bigger hits is because Geddy Lee can no longer hit those notes. Fair enough. We're all aging right along with you, Geddy, that's why I wasn't the one sneaking puffs off my one-hitter during your show. You can't hit the high ones, and I can't get baked at concerts like I did in the 80's. I understand! But I know that it wouldn't have mattered to me if he kind of fudged the high notes. My friend and I paid a substantial amount of money to see Rush play, and to only hear three songs we loved kind of sucked.

Maybe it's the whole "Freebird" thing, where they're just sick of playing certain songs. But couldn't they just play them, and then whine about it on their private jets? These guys are gazillionaires, yes, mostly because of the throngs of dudes who worship them and all of their music, but some of that money came from people like me and my friend. Maybe our love for them doesn't go as deep as all those guys air drumming and singing along to songs we'd never heard, but it's love, man.

Our friend sent a text to Danielle during the concert, it contained the set list. And as we looked it over, we realized that was it. The concert was only half over and we'd heard the music we paid to hear. She looked at me, I looked at her and then she sent me a text (seriously, we couldn't hear each other speak):

"We're leaving after this set. That okay with you?" I looked over at her, laughed, and texted back:

"Yep. C-ya!"

Dammit, Rush. We were so excited to hear you play some of our favorite jams. We cursed them on the way home, and a little bit the next day. And then, because time doesn't stand still, life went on.

But you can bet the next sausage fest I attend will most likely be at a German restaurant, and not a Rush concert.


  1. Dr. Horrible is probably one of my most favorite things ever. And don't get me started on my love for "On Writing." But Rush? Meh. Sorry you had to spend money to find that out. :(

    1. Oh Amy. Now we have to find a way to sit on a couch together and watch Dr Horrible!! I am very okay with spending the money on Rush. It was a fun night out with my homie, and that's priceless. And we saw things that normally I have to wait for the state fair to see ;)

  2. I just went to a concert this weekend, too, and left feeling a bit disappointed. Not because of the artists or their music, but because I realized I have become more of an introvert. I don't like crowds. I don't like people chatting over the music. A sort of "group nirvana" emotional experience I was perhaps hoping to have did not materialize. And goddamned it, I am over 50 and I don't like standing for 5 hours straight. And sitting on the ground on a blanket in a sea of people standing up all around you feels lame as f***.

    A good thing I did find out is the artists I admire and play over and over on Spotify DO sound as good live as their recordings do. Sure, some of the fancier aspects of the arrangements I am used to can't be pulled off (no string section, no trumpet player on "Chateau Lobby") but I am convinced these are performers of the first order.

    1. I saw SO MANY Alabama Shakes t-shirts at school yesterday! I am okay with the standing up stuff, the blanket sitting would have done me in, though. No thanks!

  3. I was/am a hardcore fan....I did spend hours in my room with my headphones on, absorbing the wisdom of Rush. Rush got me through my teenage angst years, and that was back in the late 80's/early 90's when Rush still wasn't cool. They've never been 'cool', but I guess that's what I love about them.

    I'm not a groupie by any means, I've attended enough Rush concerts over the last 25 years to assure you that occasionally, they throw you fair weather fans a bone with a Freewill or a Time Stand Still, but you have to understand that they aren't playing to you, nor have they ever. They're rewarding their loyal fans with the hidden gems that may mean nothing to you, but mean everything to them.

    And Rush.....meh? I'd just LOVE to hear what you waste your money on. ;-)

    1. Hey now. I admitted my fair-weatherness! And I'm still happy we went, it was worth it to see them live no matter what they played.

      I totally understand about them not playing to those of us who aren't that deeply into them. I get it! I love me some Johnny Cash and the songs of his that mean the most to me are the little ones that don't get a lot of attention. If he was alive I'd spend $$$ to go see him.

      My friend Bill, who is just like you as far as Rush fandom is concerned, is still giving us shit about our reaction to the concert. I don't think we'll ever live it down. I did buy a t-shirt though, for my son who is 17 and spends lots of time in his room w/ his headphones on :)

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Whoop! I attended the Rush concert in Atlanta last weekend with my husband and two male friends. The ladies room was a complete delight! I loved seeing them because each artist is one of the very best in the world at his craft - awesome! It was fun, carefree and enjoyable. I'm not a huge fan, but live music is a fave for me.

    Confession: I told my husband not to purchase a Foo Fighter ticket for the concert in the fall - too much cussing for my taste. My motherly ways would just sit there being annoyed. So our teenage girls and he will attend together instead. I guess I'm old.

    Glad you had a great night out!

    1. Missy, you are so right! These guys are masters at their crafts, and now I can say I saw Neil Freaking Peart play drums live.

      GIRL!!! I understand what you're throwing down re: Foo Fighters, but I am weeping. Tell your hubby I'll take the girls for him :)

  5. I'm sorry the concert wasn't as awesome as you'd hoped but I have to say, love that photo of you, you look great!

  6. Are you the one with the longish dark hair? If so you are a lovely looking woman. And, your former husband is an ass.


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