Saturday, May 10, 2008

Two nights with Rush

This past week I was able to see Rush twice at the brand new Nokia Live Theater in Los Angeles, or as Neil Peart may say, a very "large mobile phone manufacturer" Live Theater in Los Angeles. Both shows were great but ended up being entirely different experiences as my concert karma continues to be at an all time high.

Tuesday night I went with Greg, a co-worker of mine. He had picked us up tickets shortly after they went on sale. Once we found our seats we realized we didn't have the closest seats in the place and determined that the seating chart on Ticketmaster was slightly misleading. Nevertheless we enjoyed the two and a half hour show.

For Thursday night I had bought a single ticket right as they went on sale and was able to score a 12th row center. The seat was much better, the sound was much better and this was the closest I had been for a Rush show in over 10 years.

The show starts and the seats next to me end up filling up. Shortly before the intermission I saw a group of people walking down the aisle who had asked security to help them find their seats. They ended up having the three seats next to me and forced the seat squatters who had been there most of the show out of their seats.

During the intermission the group struck up a conversation with me asking how much I paid for my ticket. I told them and then looked at their ticket and pointed out that their ticket was free and was labeled complimentary. Making a small talk joke I said unlike me, you actually know important people. At this point they reveal that the gentleman in their group is named Rupert and produced a couple of Rush's albums. I asked if this is Rupert Hine who produced both Presto and Roll The Bones and they were impressed both with my knowledge of Rush and the fact that I knew who Rupert was. I ended up talking to them through out intermission.

Fast forward to the end of the show and as the crowd is leaving they told me they had an extra backstage pass and asked if I wanted to join them to meet Rush! With no hesitation I said yes, thanked them, then told them that I had to run to buy merch and that I would be right back.

About 5 minutes later I joined the group and was able to get a true backstage experience. Once in the hospitality room they had hors d'oeuvres, wine, beer and other assorted drinks. A bit more upscale then most back stage areas I've been to. I just had a bottle of water. Rupert his ex-wife Natasha, and their friend Jacqueline stayed with me the entire time and I was able to hear numerous stories about Rupert's time with Rush, meeting the band, having Neil petition him for nearly 7 years to work with them, moving temporarily to Toronto to work in the studio, and hearing about how great the three guys in Rush were so great to him and his family for the few years they worked together.

After about 10 minutes Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson join the group to do the after show meet and greet. Geddy immediately sees Rupert, and says hi to our group first. Geddy tells us to stick around awhile so he can make the rounds and come back. Rupert graciously introduced me to Geddy as a friend.

Being backstage was a bit of a who's who in the LA music scene. Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and someone I've become recently familiar with Jason Falkner (Jellyfish), a couple of guys from Vertical Horizon, and other industry types like personal managers such as Stewart Copeland's (The Police) personal manager.

Unfortunately Neil Peart does not join these types of events so Rupert and Natasha were taken to a separate room to talk to Neil privately. When they returned they said they had a great visit and Natasha had told Neil how the end of his drum solo reminded her of when she saw Max Roach and which delighted Neil. Once they return I had worked my way over to Alex Lifeson. Rupert once again introduces me as a friend and I'm able to get autographs and a great picture with Alex. This is one funny guy, if he hadn't done music he probably could have done stand up. Everything he said was hilarious.

Geddy finally made his way back to us and I was able to get his autograph and a picture with him as well. To top everything off when we leaving both Geddy and Alex shook my hand, remembered my name and personally told me that it was nice to meet me. Who would have thought that these guys would ever know who I was, even if only for a short moment in time.

I must thank Rupert, Natasha, and their friend Jacqueline for giving me such a memorable night. You just don't see this type of generosity given to a complete stranger. Thank you.

May 6 & May 8 2008
Nokia Live Theater
Los Angeles, CA

Digital Man
Ghost Of A Chance
Main Monkey Business
The Larger Bowl
Red Barchetta
Between The Wheels


Far Cry
Workin' Them Angels
Armor And Sword
The Way The Wind Blows
Natural Science
Witch Hunt
Malignant Narcissism ->
Drum solo
The Spirit Of Radio
Tom sawyer

One Small Victory
Passage To Bangkok

Even though my concert going experience was very different I found both performances to be very consistent including identical setlists. The first night Mission and Red Barchetta were my personal highlights. The second night Mission remained a highlight with the addition of Far Cry off their latest album. On both nights Subdivisions seemed to get one of the largest crowd reactions. I enjoyed the performance slightly better Thursday and in talking to Geddy he thought the band performed better as a whole on Thursday and said the sound seemed better as well.

What a recap. Now I'm off to listen to Presto and Roll The Bones!

1 comment:

AndyO said...

Dave, that's one amazing story! Thanks for writing it up so we could ride along with your concert Karma!

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