L. Neil Smith's

Number 19, December 1, 1996

Test For Echo

A concert review of the 1996-97 North American RUSH tour

By Don L. Tiggre

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         My ears are still ringing, but not because I forgot to put in my ear-plugs before shooting again. In fact, my trusty Wesson was more than 1500 miles away, as I didn't want the folks in the airport to put black and yellow tape that says "please steal" all over my bag.
         No, this was an entirely different experience, a much more fun and remarkable experience than forgetting my ear plugs. You see, I just got back to my hotel room from attending my first Rush concert.
         No! Not Rush Limbaugh... You couldn't pay me to listen to him play anything!
         I mean RUSH, the Canadian rock band.
         I mean RUSH, the group that sings about logic, unions, laws, the philosophy of science, the importance of open communication in a loving relationship, the perils of ignorance and prejudice, and other things you'd never expect from a hard rock band.
         I mean RUSH!!! Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart; the mighty three whom I have heard more libertarians, anarchists, and freethinkers credit with their political awakening than any other single source. (Yes, including Ayn Rand. Many of these folks discovered Rand because of RUSH!)
         But, let me back up a bit and tell you the story...
         Someone I love is a major RUSH fan. It was one of the things that drew us together, in fact. But where she's not missed one of their shows for some ten years, I'd never seen them. This may seem rather strange, given my philosophical leanings and their explicitly pro individual lyrics (as in "2112") and their recurrent themes of debunking mysticism and the evils of the state. But it was true. Whether from being being an overworked manager, or a busy single parent, I'd never managed to make time to see them play.
         My friend decided to buy me an airplane ticket and us some concert tickets. I was really looking forward to the concert, but my excitement became almost too much to contain the week before, when she sent me an e-mail telling me that her butt was black and blue... You see, she's a serious RUSHian, and she'd gone to see them in another city; the report on the coloring of her posterior was her way of telling me that the show Kicked Ass.
         So she picks me up at the airport -- by coincidence, we are both wearing black leather jackets, blue shirts and blue jeans. I've left my .44 at home, but she's brought along her .45 auto, so target practice seems like a good possibility. We get in her Mustang GT, the engine purring a loud and happy welcome... If you've ever heard RUSH's song "Red Barchetta" then you know how I felt when I got my turn behind the wheel. All the makings of a perfect weekend, right?
         More right than I could know!
         I mean no disrespect to my dear friend. Being with her was wonderful, and even the waitress at the cafe by the venue told us we made a cute couple... But nothing else came close to that fantastic music...except, perhaps, for the knowledge that I was listening to it with someone who appreciated it as much as I did, maybe even more.
         How to communicate what the music was like?
         Well, if you are not familiar with RUSH, I'm not sure I can. I can describe it by saying that it is some of the most powerful music ever written, with intelligent words that actually tell stories, educate, and enlighten the listener. But that doesn't come close to capturing the experience... I recommend that you buy some RUSH CDs ("2112," "Signals," "Permanent Waves," and "Moving Pictures" are good ones to start with), read the lyrics, and grok the band's and pro-reason philosophy before going to check them out. Let me warn you though, as hard as it is, the music very complex for rock. Many of their songs I had to listen to several times before I could discern all the interwoven themes, appreciate their genius and beauty.
         If you are familiar with Rush, but like me a short while ago, have not seen them perform, then I urge you: GO!!! Hawk your wedding ring if you have to, but go see this show!!! Unlike many bands who play complex music, these guys can do it live. They played just about all of my favorite songs, and only a few from their new album, "Test For Echo." (Okay, I'm showing my age, that's "CD," for the historically challenged!) The skill of the musicians was such that even Neil Peart's drum solo was captivating. And I hate drum solos! I've always found them boring, but this one was actually a song, with many distinct rhythms of its own.
         If you grok RUSH and have seen them live, the I still urge you to do everything in your power to make this tour. The double-wide screen behind was way-cool, and the video clips they used accented their music nicely (as opposed to "covered up a lack of talent"). The lasers were plentiful and spectacular, as were the many other visual effects. The sound was incredible. Even though it was so loud I could still hear my ears ringing the next day, it was still clear and sharp; one could actually understand the words of the singer! And they played something very special, one of their whole-side-of-the-record ballads. I won't give away just what, as I appreciated the surprise myself, but I will say that it has never been played in its entirety in concert before, and I never thought I'd see it live.
         For the love of life, DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!!!

Don L. Tiggre is the proud father of three boys who teach him daily lessons in effective ways to resist tyranny. Having just barely survived 16 years of 'education', Mr. Tiggre is doing his best to study the human animal in it's natural habitats. The results of this study can be found at his web-site: http://home.utah-inter.net/don-tiggre/lrthp.htm

Imagine a government bent on sharing its sensitive, caring, environmentally friendly ways with an entire universe. Then imagine the army it needs. CLD - Collective Landing Detachment. Dark military SF. By Victor Milan. From AvoNova.

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