Rush is a Band

A blog devoted to the band RUSH:
Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Thu, Sep 19, 2019

My Roadshow review

Wed, Oct 18, 2006@10:24PM | comments

I read Neil Peart's first book, The Masked Rider, admittedly because I was a Rush fan - no other reason. I'm not much of a traveler and had never read travel books. But I found his descriptions particularly evocative, and his writing top-notch. I was surprised at how much I liked it and he barely even mentioned Rush or the drums.

Ghost Rider was powerful, saddening, inspirational and more. Neil's descriptions of the immeasurable pain and the feeling of loss caused by the tragic hand fate had dealt him simply tore me up inside. I was on the verge of tears more than once and the way he emerged from the abyss at the end of the book was truly awe-inspiring. I felt nothing but pity and admiration for Neil after this read.

Traveling Music was a fun book. Neil's nostalgic meanderings dragged me along for the ride. I found myself dredging up old memories right along with Neil - which was a blast. This book was more of a pre-Rush autobiography of Neil Peart rather than a travel book - which is why it's probably this homebody/Rush-fan's favorite of his catalog thus far.

Then came Neil Peart's 4th book, Roadshow which I started reading a few weeks ago and even posted my semi-review when I was just a few chapters in because I had been so impressed.

I finally finished reading the entire book last week and am ready for my "final review". Overall I liked it. It's not the best of his books in my opinion but neither is it the worst. It definitely has its own unique feel and tone. My initial impressions after reading the first few chapters were to describe Roadshow as almost whimsical. Neil had me laughing out loud at points. The upbeatness and excitement of preparing for a new tour and the vivid descriptions of those first few "magical" shows was wonderfully conveyed. Neil was throwing out all sorts of neat bits of Rush trivia as well. But as the book progressed that upbeat tone in the writing started to lose momentum. The jokes got a litte old and stale as did Neil's mood. Themes kept being repeated and life on the road started to take its toll on Neil and I started to feel the same sense of tedium that Neil was describing. In that respect, Neil's book was brilliantly written; he was completely successful in evoking the same emotions in me that he himself was feeling. By the end of the book I felt a little ... tired, almost glad it was over. And I certainly felt I had a much better understanding of Neil Peart the person - maybe too good of an understanding. Neil doesn't pull any punches in this book. He describes his feelings at face value and you get to know Neil very well - warts and all.

I've been reading a lot about Roadshow on the various message boards and the reviews so far are probably the most varied and volatile of all his books. Most people seem to at least agree that the book was well-written and very personal. Neil's straightforward honesty in describing life on the road for a veteran rock musician garnered a lot of respect and praise from many fans, while others seem to have been taken a litte aback by it. I think a lot of us, me included, count Neil Peart among our list of heroes, and we tend to place our heroes up on pedestals. It's tough to learn that our hero is a real person with real feelings, faults and quirks - really just like the rest of us. To steal a line from Neil himself, Illusions are painfully shattered right where discovery starts. The way I deal with this is to try and separate out Neil the musician from the Neil the person in my mind. I can appreciate both of these persons on different levels and in different contexts.

Related Posts:
[Roadshow: first impressions - a semi-review]
[Neil Peart's new book Roadshow released]
[Selected excerpts from upcoming Neil Peart book, Roadshow]