May 17th, 2015
Last month my brother passed away and I am posting some shows that he attended as well as shows by bands that he liked but for which he did not leave behind a ticket stub. The first post in this series is here.
This time around it’s Rush.
I recall being a kid and listening to my brother’s pirated copy of Fly By Night. In fact, I ran across it when I was disposing of his belongings. My memories of becoming a Rush fan are rather sporadic, however. After seeing adds for Hold Your Fire in Kerrang! I was looking forward to the release of that album so I was a fan by the summer of 1987. But I’m unsure if that fandom went beyond the FM radio staples of “Tom Sawyer”, “Spirit of Radio”, and the like.
As you can see, my brother saw the band in Chicago on 20 July 2002. I chuckled to myself when I found this stub because I had seen them the day before in Milwaukee. It was a reminder of how much we had in common, I suppose.
After losing his daughter in a car accident in 1997 and then his wife less than a year later, Neil Peart “retired” from music. Thinking back to that time I can remember reading about Peart’s losses and felt terribly for him. I wondered if this was truly the end of Rush. A few years later in 2002 they released Vapor Trails and hit the road. Personally, I found Vapor Trails to be an improvement over Test for Echo. It was loud and energetic and I was eagerly anticipating seeing them live again after an 8-year hiatus. They did not disappoint.
The new material worked well and 90s tunes like “Dreamline” and “Between Sun & Moon” had a bit more punch. The whole concert was full of energy and the band sounded, to make a bad pun, driven. It’s too bad that it took such tragedy for them to find a renewed sense of purpose. I can picture my brother getting fired up upon hearing “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”.
And so this is Rush’s show at the Tweeter Center on 20 July 2002. It’s in three parts and is a fine audience recording.
Here’s “Earthshine” from the Rush in Rio concert video>