Rush


Quick links:
Snakes & Arrows Tour 2007
Snakes & Arrows Tour 2008 Part 1
Snakes & Arrows Tour 2008 Part 2

Snakes & Arrows Tour 2007
The Great 2007 Rush Tour by Motorcycle
Musings from the first three shows


Wednesday, 13 June. It's hot in Montgomery, Alabama, and I'm sweating off my sunscreen as I pack the bike. I'm on a Dyna Convertible, my buddy Jay is on a hybrid beast (Softail, Springer front end, Fat Boy front wheel, and Road King saddle bags), and Dan is on the hot rod of the bunch, a Wide Glide with a beastly Hooker header on it.

I have the Dyna packed and I'm going to have to leave behind my camera and a couple of other items. I take a few shots of the krewe and the front of the shop before we roll off. Destination: Atlanta.

It feels cool on the highway at speed. It's a beautiful day and I'm looking forward to catching my first opening show on a Rush tour. We reach the hotel without mishap and the rest of the krewe rolls in from various locales as we prepare for the concert. The time arrives to leave for the show and I have an adventure.

We are west of I75 and heading north on I75. So, naturally I look to cross over the interstate and take a left, and I can see the intersection. What I don't see is that the near exit also has northbound access, so I don't follow the others when they dive off to the right. No problem, I'll catch them. But the light on the other side takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r and by the time I get on I75, everyone else has gone on ahead. No sweat, we all know where the venue is and we all have our tickets.

When I get to the exit, there are two ways to go, and of course I pick the way around back while the others had cruised around to the front side. Well, their loss, because they throw the bikes into a pay lot, but I'm ushered right up to the back door. Free VIP parking when you ride to the show. Yeah, baby!

The show starts and Geddy's Henhouse backline is revealed. LOL Funny stuff. The boys aren't as tight as I'm used to. There are performance gaffes from all three, and Alex's guitar problems get started on Between The Wheels. He switches and there's nothing. A tech comes out and replaces the transmitter, and Lerxst is back online. Some of the performances are just amazing. Mission and Subdivisions totally blow me away this night. Our seats are right next to the mixing boards, so the sound is top-notch.

I come away loving the set list for the most part. So, we don't get 2112. I know that's going to be a show-killer for some. But we get Mission, Entre Nous, Passage to Bangkok, and Circumstances. Four big winners, there. Heavy on Snakes & Arrows as promised.

Workin' Them Angels is amazing, with Alex stepping up to the acoustic just in the nick of time (and a bit late, once!). Armour & Sword and Spindrift are excellent live. Great stuff! I would prefer anything Rush over Summertime Blues, however, and I've seen Dreamline enough (one of the better performances in the set, though). Finally, anything from VT other than OLV would be preferable. All-in-all, it's a rockin' show and it feels great being a Rush fan.

Thursday, 14 June. The day of the big grind, part one. Some folks go their separate ways and take various routes, but the three of us who left Montgomery together are riding all the way to West Palm Beach today. We stop by the Harley dealer in Macon and the shop is quite impressive. We make another stop at a MOPAR salvage yard on Hwy 100 east of Lake City that has to be seen to be believed. Dan looks like he's found heaven. We ride on into the night. Finally, I need the mile markers to go by a bit swifter so I take the lead and roll on it. At some point, three guys on crotch rockets pass me and have to be doing at least 110. I slow down a few miles out to let everybody catch up. We reach the motel without incident and start preparing for a day of Rush.

Friday, 15 June. After a ride around WPB, a scout of the venue, and a nice meal we go back to the hotel and wait for those who are on different trails to get in. Full krewe assembled, we ride to the venue, get ushered in the front gate, and have free parking right by the doors. SWEET!!!

The show starts and the boys seem a little tighter. Ged's voice is definitely in better shape compared to the first show, and he sounds great. No surprises or switches in the set list.

Between the Wheels comes up, and once again Alex has a dead guitar after the switch. This time the tech brings him another guitar and it is LIVE. Plugged in, switched in, and growling! Well, that's one way to make sure, I guess.

During intermission, I make a call-in to a local radio show I had arranged earlier with someone I met on RushIsABand.com. I can barely hear and I just hope I'm semi-coherent as by this time I'm sort of dreamwalking. Seating on the floor right under the left side mains may have something to do with my state. (o;}

The second half of the show is outstanding. Neil looks like he's more into it...no boo-boo in the solo and more sticks in the air. Oh, how sweet it is!

Saturday, 16 June. The full krewe rides in formation to Tampa for the third show. We have time to go by the Cigar Castle to do some shopping and replenish supplies. Very nice selection and some great prices. I purchase some favorites and pick up a couple of things I've been wanting to try.

A walk next door to the Beverage Castle yields some premium imports to pair with our pre-concert stogies. Mood set, we thump to the venue where we once again get free VIP parking right up front. There's only one way to go to the show from now on...gotta RIDE!!

Show three kicks off and I immediately know that this crowd is going to be the best of the three, as I predicted. My other prediction was that Alex would play the SG on Workin' Them Angels. That one was wrong, although he did play a Gibson (very Gibson-heavy on this tour). The boys are playing tight, and the crowd is amazing, Ged's voice sounds great, Neil is hammering down on the drum kit, and I'm right on the rail just a few feet to Alex's left. Oh, man, this is fantizzletastic!!

Then Between The Wheels starts, and AGAIN a dead guitar! Holy Schneikes, how does this keep happening? Alex and the tech are talking to each other the entire time during the switch, and then...nothing! Lerxst is about to blow a gasket. I can't imagine what the tech is feeling...maybe that he'll be looking for another gig in the morning?

The rest of the show is just incredible. Big Al is REALLY dive-bombing and pinching off harmonics now. Sweet...until the encore and ANOTHER dead guitar...this time the old reliable white Gibson. And Neil stops playing! The train wreck!! Holy cow, I've finally seen the fabled train wreck that happens about once a tour, according to the boys. This is definitely one for the books. Lerxst gets strapped back in and plugged in hot, and the encore then continues in front of a frenzied crowd. What a way to finish up!

Sunday, 17 June. The day of the big grind, part two. Folks are peeling off as we move northward, but Jay and I are riding all the way from Tampa to Montgomery. The heat is brutal. I'm slamming down one or two bottles of water and an icee at every stop and nothing's coming out. The sun finally goes down, and the rest of the ride is cool and beautiful. I cover 1,750 miles in four riding days. I wonder if Neil would be appreciative?

My overall impression of the shows is that they were fantastic. The boys were a little loose on opening night, and Ged's voice was a bit strained. Alex was probably sloppier overall than I've seen him, and the continuing tech problems were shocking. The lights and vids were all excellent. The third show was definitely the best. The best performance and the best crowd.

Although a lot of fans will probably not like the set list, the only complaints I have are Dreamline (seen it too many times), One Little Victory (Ceiling Unlimited, Sweet Miracle, Ghost Rider, Earthshine, or anything else off VT) and Summertime Blues (any Rush - especially old Rush - would be far better IMO). To sum it all up, although none of these shows were in the top five Rush shows I've been to, the overall experience was the best of the best. I'm still floating on air with the sweet sounds of the best band in the world in my ears, and the roar of that big Twin Cam underneath me.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this report. I'll try and post the few pics I have sometime soon. Until then, ride safely and RUSH ROCKS!!!


Jay & Jose's shop in Montgomery.


Jay on Jose's bike.


Jay moving out on Jose's bike. That's Jose with his back to me, and Dan in the background.


Jay's bike - and my ride for the next week. All loaded up and ready to ride!


In Tampa and ready to rock for the third time in four days. I like my new boots almost as much as my new tee!


Jay, George, and me acting a fool in Tampa. Just about to roll to the Cigar Castle before the show.


Dan, me, and George feeling it.


Snakes & Arrows Tour 2008 Part 1
The Great 2008 Rush Tour (NOT by Motorcycle)
The tour continues!


Wednesday, 16 April. We're at my crib preparing for the Jacksonville run on the morrow with much trepidation as we also have tickets to New Orleans and that show is in doubt. It seems that the New Orleans Hornets have a good team this year and it looks like the Rush show may get bumped depending on what happens in the last regular season games. The Hornets are playing on TV and I watch the first professional basketball game I can ever remember watching. The Hornets win, and we don't know if it's good or bad.

Some fantastic margaritas help take the edge off as we wait in vain for the date of the Hornets game to be announced before bedtime.

Thursday, 17 April. I get up and my buddy is checking the internet. Sure enough, the Hornets are playing Saturday night and the Rush show has been postponed. UGH!! Oh, well, we can deal...we're going to see the boys play tonight after all!!! The New Orleans show will just happen at another time.

The ride to Jacksonville in my Jeep goes well and we arrive ready to rock. It's my first time in town and the venue looks nice. We have good seats about half way back on the left side about 2/3 up in the first section off the floor. The lights go down and the same video from the 2007 leg plays, and sure enough they start with Limelight again but I like that they just go straight into it this time.

Alex is WAY UP in the mix and he sounds great! Ged's voice is a little ragged and he's not as animated as he usually is. Neil makes an obvious gaffe during the improv part of his solo, but otherwise is as solid as ever. The boys are tight tonight...great performance! One of the best shows I've seen them play in a long time. I like the changes in the setlist and the few additions to the video. I think the show overall is a bit stronger than the 2007 leg, especially with 2112 Overture and Temples put back in. Good stuff!

At one point, a tiny girl behind us says she can't see. Understandable, since my friend and I definitely take up some real estate. LOL We oblige, but I let her know she is lucky...we have floor seats to the New Orleans show right up front, so I don't mind sitting for this one. She disappears when the second set starts, so I jump back up and get my freak on for the rest of the show.

Back home from a successful mission, I check the internet and there's no update on the New Orleans show.

Friday, 18 April. Morning comes, and my friend is on the internet and has GREAT news: Rush has flip-flopped the New Orleans and Houston shows, and will be rockin' the Big Easy on Sunday night! HOT DAMN!!! A quick phone call extends hotel reservations, and we are setup for an extra night on Bourbon Street. SWEET!!!!!

The balance of Friday is spent smoking cigars and engaging in general revelry, including cranking my Marshall WAY UP!!! (o;}

Saturday, 19 April. Ahhhh, the French Quarter...my old stomping grounds. One of my favorite haunts of recent years is gone, however. Silhouettes is no more! It was a great place to pause on the street and take in the atmosphere. The strippers (in case you haven't guessed that part yet) were on a stage with a big window facing the street. The window was covered with a large shade and bright lights cast very interesting *ahem* shadows on it. I guess the seemingly innumerable Larry Flynnt clubs put it out of business. Too bad. But there are plenty of other distractions to keep us entertained for the night.

We're having breakfast somewhere and I have an ecounter that has become a fixture for me at Rush shows. It seems to always involve a married woman who just has to flirt with me - with husband in tow, no less. Flattering and maddening at the same time! This one was Karen the kindergarten teacher. Petite, blond, and cute. She just had to come over, introduce herself, and proceed to tell me all about herself while touching me and putting her arm around me. Naturally, the husband was none too pleased, and his irritation level increased with each contact. I think any possibility of a really nasty situation was avoided when they discovered I was a fellow LSU Tiger fan.

So, with goodbyes and wishes for a great concert said to Karen the kindergarten teacher and relieved husband, we head for the hotel to rest up for the big day.

Sunday, 20 April. The day starts, appropriately, back on Bourbon Street. I used to eat lunch in the French Quarter every day. Today I fuel up for the concert with some killer crawfish nachos. We then soak up the perfect weather with drinks on a second story balcony overlooking the street.

I have never been in the New Orleans Arena and I'm impressed. Very nice and the air conditioning is cranked up the way I like it! We are on the floor just a few rows from the stage right in front of Alex's mic stand. Oh, man, this is gonna be awesome!

The show starts and already I can tell that the energy level is up for this one. Geddy's voice is strong and he's bouncing all over the stage like a madman. Alex is having a lot of fun and does some poses while he makes faces at the audience. A few beads get thrown onto the stage, but not too many. That's a good thing, as a slip and fall could be disastrous. Alex picks up one strand and hangs it on his rig. Stage hands hang a couple more later on.

WOW the boys are really animated. The playing is a little loose in spots, but who cares? Neil misses one of his patented around-the-kit-fills and the improv is obvious to all who know the music. Geddy gives him a big mocking bow after the tune (can't remember which one it was) and Neil makes a face and shakes his sticks in the air. Then Geddy pulls a good one when he forgets to punch in his keyboard on the Subdivisions solo!! LOL That's a first! Ged recovers quickly enough, and I wonder if he's ever done that before.

This is an amazing show! A chick in the front row is overwhelmed and she is crying buckets the whole time. During the second set, Alex hands her some tissues. After the show, a roadie runs over and hands her a pair of drumsticks. Awwwww....how nice!

At one point, a bra is thrown on stage. I don't see who tosses it, but based on the ample cup size and my pre-show observations of that area, it can only be one of two girls. I try to get a glimpse of bouncing, unfettered hooters in a tight shirt after the show, but I miss it. I've never seen underwear thrown at a Rush concert before, but I bet Alex has!! tee hee

The night is polished off with some nice single malt and cigars. I break out a pair of Ashton Estate Sun Grown 21-Year Salutes. A somewhat rare and expensive cigar, but GOOOOOOD and this concert certainly rates high enough to warrant burning a couple from my extremely limited supply. I absolutely savor every puff from mine, but my buddy is blown down. Sorry, dude! (o;}

Monday, 21 April. I hate to leave the Big Easy and the tour, but there'll be other times. We stop at Jerry's Cajun Cafe in Pensacola on the way back to Panama City for lunch. I have some outstanding jambalaya. Next is a trip across the street to visit Cordova cigars for coffee and a smoke. I tell John about Jay's struggles with the Ashton ESG and he just says, "Ah, the velvet hammer!" INDEED! We make it back to the house by dusk with another glorious and successful Rush mission in the books.

 

Snakes & Arrows Tour 2008 Part 2
The Great 2008 Rush Tour by Motorcycle
Back on two wheels, baby!!


Tuesday, 22 July. It's hot in Montgomery, Alabama, and I'm sweating off my sunscreen as I pack the bike. Hey, wait a minute! Is this déjà vu all over again? Almost...it will be just Jay and I on this leg and I'll be on his Dyna again. He borrows Dan's Wide Glide. It is HOT, though, but not as hot as the day before.

I left Panama City about 1pm on Monday to ride up to Montgomery on my Vulcan 750. I'm on the outskirts of town a few minutes after 4 and I have to stop. The heat, man, SHEESH!! I know exactly where I am and it's only a mile and change to the next gas station, where shade, a/c, and refreshments await. My mind says to keep going the last mile, but my body says NO!! You have to stop and get in the shade NOW! So I do. Cooled off, I mount back up and ride the rest of the way to DynaCycle. Forward back to Tuesday...

We're at DynaCycle packing the bikes while Jose checks on the I-85 construction around LaGrange. After he relays the report, we decide to detour around it. The ride is nice, but we're in Newnan and I see a bank sign that reads one hundred degrees. OUCH!! I'm soaking with sweat by the time we reach the hotel and have to take a shower before we down some grub.

A major storm blows in while we're at the restaurant. I'm worried about George who is riding in to meet up with us for the show. Sure enough, George calls and says he is at his hotel and is drenched. At our hotel, a wind gust breaks the front door and there is hail all over the area. YIKES!! Jay and I decide to take a cab to the show. We try to wait for George but eventually have to take off before he gets over. For the first time, we do not have tickets and we need some time to scope things out. George makes it but gets slammed by the weather again after leaving his hotel, so he ends up having to go to the show soaking wet. Sorry about that!

There are very few tickets to be had...all on the lawn except for one pair in the back row of the second section just under the roof. These turn out to be great seats. Far from the stage, but the sound is really good and from our vantage point the light show is incredible!! It really pays off to see the show several times from different locations.

The music starts and Alex is SMOKIN'!!!! I mean he is on fire. Way up in the mix and nailing everything. I've never heard Babylon blaze like that. During the solo, Jay says, "That's rock star stuff!!" HELL YEAH!!! By the end of the show Lerxst is exhausted. Spent. Out of gas. I wonder if he's gonna make it through YYZ. Unbelievable performance. Thank you sir, may I have another? hehehe

Being behind most of the crowd, I get a good view of everybody sitting down at the beginning of "slow" songs. You know, like Natural Science. The easy guitar strumming begins, and the crowd just sinks down. It happens several times, and I make hand gestures like I imagine Moses did parting the Red Sea. Are these Rush fans or not? "Hey, people, WTF? They will be ROCKING in about 42 seconds!!" Whatever.

The one bummer about this show is that it was supposed to be closing night, but they rescheduled one show moving it after this one. Too bad, because I've never seen closing night and we actually saw opening night of the S&A tour (also a first for me) and I was really looking forward to seeing the first and last shows and seeing the boys let it all go. They do jazz it up a bit. Alex is pumped, Neil improvs a bit here and there, Geddy is jumping around like crazy, and the mixer punches up the echo on his mic several times. So there is a bit of that closing night vibe and it's a great performance.

After the show, George has his bike there but Jay and I have to get a cab. We wait...and wait...uh oh. There are no cabs to be seen. I hear somebody yell, "If this was New York there would cabs all over the place!" Yeah, well, this is Alpharetta and we're not in NY or in downtown Atlanta, for that matter.

Then I have my ubiquitous - and seemingly obligatory - encounter with a hitched wench. I get tired of standing around so I sit down on a curb. Right away, a girl seems to fall out of the sky and into my lap!! Maggie is her name. Cute, intoxicated, blond and buxom, with amazing breasts practically spilling out of a black lace bra which is in turn spilling out of her extremely low-cut bodice. Before I can get too excited, hubby walks over. Of course! Then it gets even weirder...

Maggie and hubby start arguing about whether they should wait for a cab or walk. Hubby wants to hoof it. Maggie isn't walking anywhere. "Give me the room key," she says. He gives her the key and leaves!! Now, this did not turn into an encounter worthy of a Penthouse letter, because hubby left friends behind to keep tabs on the little woman. That didn't stop her from leaning on me, lying in my lap, getting up (with help) and then falling back down on me several times. "I just wanna go home!! I got money..." (holding out about $8).

Maggie...pretty, soft, smooth, built, speaker of German and Dutch - and married.

O Maggie, schönes Mädchen! Warum müsste du verheiratet sein?

I eventually leave Maggie to her watchful friends so Jay and I can walk away from the crowd and catch a cab back to the hotel. One of these days she's gonna be single, damnit!!!!

Wednesday, 23 July. It's a little cooler today with some cloud cover. I'm pumped up for a ride through what for me will be new territory. We go a bit north and then west and find some nice roads on our way to the Taladega National Forest. I've never been there, and the woods and curves are very inviting after the heat and traffic of the interstate and city. The ride up and down Mount Cheaha is fantizzletastic! I keep the bike in third gear and the Twin Cam is perfect on this road. No need to touch the brakes. Just twist and release, accelerate and brake with the engine, and lean into it. Heavenly.

On the way out of the forest we take a substandard road and I hit reserve out in the boonies. We know we're in range of a gas station, but it adds just a little bit of adventure to the trek.

Around Wetumpka the bottom falls out of the sky and we get soaked but good. We're cooled down, now! LOL At least we're headed for cover and a change of threads and won't have to sit through a concert with wet clothes (sorry, George)!

Thursday, 24 July. Time to wrap up the monumental tour. Six shows is a new record for me. I say my goodbyes and ride the Vulcan back home - without heat exhaustion this time! Ahh, it was glorious. Great friends, great memories, great shows, great rides. I hope we can all do it again soon.

Until next time, ride safely and RUSH ROCKS!!

 

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