The Time I Cried At A Rush Show

by - November 03, 2023

Photo courtesy of Dana Gorab

Alright. You got me. I suffered the slings and arrows of the haters for most of my childhood, so nothing anyone can say now is gonna make even a scintilla of a difference.

Siri told me today that 2.2 billion, give or take a few hundred million, go to a Christian church on Sunday. Just as many head to mosques, temples or out into nature to find that ultimate source. For me, since about 1986 and until their final tour in 2015, that place of worship was a Rush concert.

It's not hyperbole. Along with my kids, both ex-wives, brother, best friend (Mr. Shannon M. Brady of Little King II and III bass playing fame), and legions of other nerdy, middle-aged white dudes… we had our own Holy Trinity sessions. I saw them in Seattle on May 21, 1986 on the Power Windows tour with my buddy Tyler. My old man dropped us off as kids, and then he picked us up out front as men! Okay, THAT'S Hyperbole. But having already been a big fan for at least three years and having missed the Grace Under Pressure tour that hit Tacoma (near my hometown of Mercer Island, WA) that also had fallen on my 14th birthday, seeing Rush SOMEDAY SOON had become an obsession. When that date was announced at the Seattle Center Coliseum, Ty and I pounced.

Fast forward to May 8, 2015, in Tulsa, OK. The aforementioned Shannon and I made plans to see Rush on what would prove to be the first show of their final tour. We Rush Nerds had an inkling - too much smoke for there not to be fire as far as this tour being the grand finale. They spoke of maybe a two-week residency type engagement down the road, but Neil Peart was clearly done touring.

I probably saw Rush 30 times in those 30 years. Shannon and I saw half of that number together. He's like me; knows every note, every word, every nuance of every song and every member. Details. Nerd. We even trekked to the SARS festival in 2003 to see Rush at Downsview Park opening for the Rolling Stones. 35-minute blistering set, and Shannon actually was pissed on. Twice. We also met Rush's producer, the estimable Terry Brown (aka "Broon" to the Nerds). This started a relationship that culminated in Terry mixing Little King's Virus Divine album with me in Toronto in 2003.

Because we had to meet up in Tulsa, arrangements had to be made ahead of time. Shannon was flying in from a sound gig in his hometown of Vegas while I had to make my way from Delaware, via Philadelphia, PA. I made it right on schedule, but Shannon… well, check this shit out:

He was grounded in Dallas due to weather. So he rented a car at DFW and set out to drive the one million hours from Dallas to Tulsa. Problem is, that weather was REAL. As he crossed into OK from TX, some Highway Patrolman pulled him and all of the other traffic over and directed them into a small town. From there, they exited their vehicles and shuffled down into a dark tornado shelter. Then… BOOM.

45 minutes go by, and Shannon et al are finally safe. As they released back into the upper world, Shannon noticed that his rental car now had another car attached to its hood… like, ON TOP of Shannon's car. Needless to say, it wasn't drivable. By the grace of God and good corporate management, Alamo Rent a Car came and got Shannon, drove him to Tulsa, dropped him off at the hotel (where I had a case of some cold ass piss beer ready for him), and wished him well. Alamo even checked up on him in a couple days.

Wasn't easy, but damn if we didn't make it for the opening notes of "Clockwork Angels". Rush's opening night! They were on fire, and not perfect, which is awesome as a Rush fan, because it's so rare. Geddy even said they were about to play "Jacob's Ladder" for the first time ever as it actually appeared on Exit...Stage Left live from 1981!

I know...the TEARS. I got you.

The set of the R40 Tour was a backwards tour of their catalog, starting with Clockwork Angels (2012) and ending with Rush and "Garden Road", a song they never released from the early 70s. As the final notes crashed, the boys took their bow from the altar. I just KNEW Shannon and I would never share that moment again, and cue waterworks. Not a great crier, per se, so maybe it was more like a desert creek than Snoqualmie Falls, but I was moved.

Thank you, Alex and Geddy. RIP and thank you, Professor.

- Ryan Rosoff, Little King

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