Rush is a Band

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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Sun, Dec 15, 2019

Selected excerpts from upcoming Neil Peart book, Roadshow

Sat, Jun 17, 2006@8:31AM | comments

Roadshow[ Roadshow - selected excerpts]

Neil Peart recently posted several short excerpts from his upcoming book, Roadshow: Landscape With Drums, A Concert Tour by Motorcycle, on his website. The book is due out this September and chronicles Neil's travels on the R30 tour. Here are a few of the excerpts but I highly suggest you read them all. I can't wait for this book.

At the end of a long day on the road, I felt the mixed buzz of all-day vibration, overstimulation, and weariness - the underlying awareness of having gone the distance, enjoyed it, and survived it. I had once come up with a refrain that often played in my head: "When I'm riding my motorcycle, I'm glad to be alive. When I stop riding my motorcycle, I'm glad to be alive."


Now that we were getting close to opening night, Alex, Geddy, and I played through that show with earnest dedication to getting everything right. I was giving it everything I had, straining and sweating, and in fact, I was already playing for an audience, though they were imaginary. It is a defining trait in my character and attitude toward performing that no audience is more unforgivingly critical than an imaginary one. They knew exactly how well I was supposed to play, and whether I had or not.


It is a harsh fact of a musician's life on the road that out of a tour of fifty or sixty shows, only a handful will be "magic." A sublime performance is as rare and mysterious as an astrologer's planetary confluence, and far less predictable. A set of separate elements in motion must coincide at exactly the same time and place, and like the magic which is supposed to result from planetary confluence and sublime performance, it cannot be summoned on demand. Like, say between 7:30 and 11:00 on June 25, 2004, at the Cellular Telephone Network Amphitheater in San Antonio.


That night, even when I sat down at the practice kit for my seven o'clock warmup, I could feel it - what baseball pitchers call their "stuff." Hands and feet worked smoothly together like they wanted to, sticks and beaters struck clean and true, and everything I played flowed out with controlled fire.

I had my stuff, and the stars and planets must have been aligned, too. The show poured out of us like a force of nature, sweeping out in waves from the stage and the lights and the speaker cabinets, ebbing and flowing over a cheering, smiling, delighted crowd. We were all locked together in a long, timeless moment of sublime pleasure, and as song after song played out into the ether, I felt energized and ever more determined to make this the one.


At the beginning of 2112, Alex holds up thumb and forefinger circled in a zero, and we share big goofy smiles. The last appearance of the "pirates," then "La Villa Strangiato," with Alex's last story-time, then through to the big ending. A quick drink and iced towel behind the stage, then run back on. In celebration of the last night, a dozen or so of the crew guys join Alex and Geddy at the dryers, helping to throw the T-shirts into the audience. Then we launch into the fast-paced trio of "Summertime Blues," "Crossroads," and "Limelight."

I put my drumsticks down on the floor tom to my right, stand up, bow and wave to the audience three times, then run for the car.