Mark Twain’s two most famous characters are Tom Sawyer, the God fearing, polite, middle class boy who had a passing interest in the dark side of life and Huck Finn, a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, whose wanderlust and dirty mouth put him in harm’s way. However, these two sharply drawn characters did not stop the band Rush from writing Today’s Tom Sawyer, about a rebellious youth with a “mean, mean stride.” Nor did it prevent VH-1 from naming the song the 19th greatest hard rock song of all time.
On Tuesday, July 21, 2015 Rush will grace the Moda Center in Portland as part of its R40 tour. The Canadian hard rock band is celebrating forty six years together with this thirty four city tour. The band has produced twenty four gold and fourteen platinum albums in its history. Each of the band members is in his sixties.
The band was originally comprised of lead vocalist and keyboard player Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer John Rutsey. In 1974 Mr. Rutsey was replaced by drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. Rush went on to be nominated for seven Grammy Awards and was inducted into both the Canadian and American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band is one of the few musical groups to have its own star on Hollywood’s walk of fame. Rush is known for constantly reinventing itself and experimenting with different sounds and instruments. The band is also known for its meaningful lyrics that incorporate history, literature and mythology.
Rush started out as a traditional blues rock band with its self-titled first album, but moved over to more progressive rock in subsequent albums. Geddy Lee’s unique, high pitch vocals have made him one of the most recognized voices in heavy metal music.
Neal Peart’s lyrics have been called everything from brilliant to preachy and pretensions. The song “A Farwell to Kings is an example of the way in which he incorporates his knowledge of ancient history and literature to make a political statement.
“The hypocrites are slandering The sacred Halls of Truth Ancient nobles showering Their bitterness on youth Can’t we find the minds that made us strong? Can’t we learn to feel what’s right And what’s wrong?”
It is easy to see the classical influences in Mr. Peart’s work, as a percussionist he has been known to use instruments such as the glockenspiel, tubular bells and temple blocks which are most often used in classical music.
Rush fans range in age from teens to octogenarians. Musicians from all genres of music have proclaimed themselves Rush fans. Country star Tim Mcgraw, Smashing Pumpkin’s front man Billy Corgan and Billy Joel have proclaimed their love for the band. First Lady Michelle Obama is also a reported Rush fan.
All of that fame and adoration has resulted in the band members getting what they want when they are on tour. Their backstage rider includes a “weekly booze schedule,” that requires a different 26 ounce bottle of high end alcohol every night of the week. Tuesday’s requirement is a bottle if Chivas Regal scotch. The rider specifically states that there is to be no Heineken beer and no Danish pastries.
The rider also demands that enough hors-d’oeuvre for fifteen people are to be served on a nightly basis. There must be six wine glasses at the ready every night; perhaps to accommodate each band member and his respective groupie.
Rush hits the Moda stage at 7:30 on July, 21 and ticket prices range from $29.00 to $8266.00.
Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
Eliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.