One Celebration of Neil Peart and Rush
Sitting, waiting for the train to get rolling. That is where this began. The train had just arrived in fact at Grand Central. I had just sat down, and now as waiting for it to depart. The first half hour I was standing, waiting for it to get here. Now I waited to depart. Grand Central at night is never fun. And I was so close. I almost got the earlier train. I was in the station! Damn another minute or two and I would have been home that much sooner.
Ah it was worth it. Earlier that night I checked out a tribute to Neil Peart and Rush over in Long Island City. Was very cool. At the LIC Bar. Smaller place, minutes from Manhattan, which routinely has some live music! And maybe it is bigger. I think there was a back room? The front room was fine.
All I asked for going in was Red Barchetta and YYZ. And my wish or my requests came true. I knew Villa Strangiato was not happening. Trees would have been cool. I was amazed at the number of tunes I actually knew that were after the Moving Pictures album.
The band was up to the task. They were all from or affiliated with a local studio, the Ice Plant, again found in Long Island City. So I imagine the studio is in proximity to the bar-both in Long Island City. That works.
Going back to the band, the music – the drummer was on it. That drummer being Randy Satarsky, who I had seen perform with Thornes a few times. He was cool at the Thornes shows, but tonight, with it being a tribute to Neil Peart and Rush, the spotlight was largely on him. He nailed it. That said he was not visible. Drummers often are not. They are typically behind their drums. Right? With the intimacy of this stage, and just kind of concealed in the corner, and then with the two vocalists and even the guitarists hiding him, he was all but visible.
In one sense, as it was a tribute to Peart, perhaps it was proper that Randy was not visible. I don’t think that was the intent. It don’t really matter.
Now, I was right in front of the bass amp so I got to hear Geddy Lee’s parts in all their glory and the dude on bass, Matt Scharfglass, knew those parts inside and out. Some nice stuff. Hearing the bass dominate here was enlightening too. You realize that Lifeson is rarely just strumming power chords. The interplay between those two, Lifeson and Lee, is a little more involved. I know the man’s solos, and yes they were pretty much there on Wednesday night. But damn if I ever really pondered what Lifeson was doing in between those solos.
Now you might pause and ask, how do know what Alex Lifeson is doing if all you heard was Geddy Lee’s part. Hearing the bass that night and the attention to detail found in Matt’s playing also drew attention to what was Alex Lifeson parts entailed. It pushed me, made me look over to the guitarist, Wayne Silver. Just things that I previously took for granted. Just a different angle. All happening there in front of me – the pleasure of live music.
And going back to Geddy Lee, he must be a busy man during those Rush shows. He has the bass, the vocals, and the keyboards too. Some of it might be preprogrammed perhaps, but still. Tonight this group had a keyboard player, two female vocalists, and a bass player covering those domains.
Yeah, they had two vocalists taking care of that space. Geddy Lee’s voice has always been a challenge. Critics were never sure what to say. Fans embraced it. It was part of who or what the band was about – Rush. Both singers, Danielle Erin Rhodes and Beckley Andrews did a good job. There was one moment, I think it was on Tom Sawyer perhaps, where a hint of Freddie Mercury was thrown in. Which was cool.
Lastly, the keyboard player, Adam Zirkin, did a nice job. This is another case where you, or at least I think of Rush as basically drums, bass, guitar. Limited keyboards. Yet he had parts in most of the tunes. Some that were quite recognizable.
So you listen to these tunes as I have, so many times, but a live performance is just revealing. You just further appreciate what is going on. You see it. Especially in a small venue such as we were in, with musicians who respected the music.
Thank you to the band, the musicians in the band, and the venue for making this night happen. It was a good night. A proper night for the man, Neil Peart, and his band, Rush. I wish I had stayed, had another, drink. Thanked the band properly instead of scrambling for a train. Especially considering I ended up standing there, in the middle of Grand Central, waiting for the next one anyway.