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An Encounter with History

Notes on the Rush listener experience

 

Be careful what you wish, because it just might come true.

This seems to be the warning, anyway, when you compare the first and second verses of Xanadu from Rush’s A Farewell to Kings album, the first of about four consecutive to mark the creative peak and technical perfection of perhaps the entire progressive rock world, if not at least the trio’s own output.

And while diehards would rank Lifeson, Lee and Peart at the top of their peers when it comes to technical ability with their respective instruments, I think we’ll all concede their collaborative effort goes well beyond the sum of the individual parts.

 

PEART AND HIS DRUMKIT…. AS DECREED BY KUBLA KAHN

 

With Xanadu, the threepeice somehow managed to construct a sound so overwhelming, it very nearly transforms reality (or at least the visual component).  I recall putting the FtK (in disc form) into my portable player while waiting in an airport lounge once upon a delayed flight, and then watching life’s other side emerge before my eyes to Geddy’s incantations.

Still, as much effect on reality as Rush’s music may convey over a plastic disc, this pales to their live performances.  It was only a recent summer stopover in Philadelphia that the stars aligned for me to participate in the experience for the first time.  And all I’m left to put into words is the sheer energy generated on stage that night must still linger in the air over the pleasure dome ...I mean, Wachovia Center.  After all, the Phillies won a world series that year for the first time in nearly three decades after Geddy donned their t-shirt that night. 

Like I said, be careful what you wish for.

 

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