Remembering R40…

Hard to fathom that it’s been some 6 years ago already…

Back in 2015, I was able to score 2nd row seats for the 40th anniversary tour of Rush directly in front of Alex Lifeson at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado on July 11th of that year. At the time I was already retired in Florida, but flew back with my main objective being attending this concert with my oldest son.

Believe it or not, I actually did so on an airplane.

These beat the living shit out of Willie Wonka golden tickets, any ‘ol day of the week.

Sadly, it would prove to be their final stretch…

From Wikipedia:

“We have no plans to tour or record anymore. We’re basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was enough.
Alex Lifeson: January 2018

“I would say there’s no chance of seeing Rush on tour again as Alex, Geddy, and Neil.”
Geddy Lee: October 2018

The obvious clincher was of course the untimely death of Neil Peart that followed, on January 7, 2020. He passed away at the age of 67 following a ​3 1⁄2-year battle with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.

Artwork by Doctör Ivan, the Rush sun sets…

During their 3-hour R40 performance he played not one, not two, but three different drum solos. Completely jaw-dropping to watch, from a mere 20 feet away.

Losing any of these complete virtuosos would have certainly meant the end, but particularly Peart. Not only was he among the greatest percussionists in the world, but also an accomplished poet who wrote nearly all lyrics which set the themes for the band’s compositions.

Along with John Bonham, he remains one of my biggest influences as a drummer… There’s absolutely no contest and you have to admit, that’s pretty good company.

Anyone who knows me well is aware Progressive Rock is my favorite music genre, and that Rush has been my favorite band since the first time I saw them perform live way back in 1979. That tour was in support of their epic album, “Hemispheres”.

I was so blown away, I went out the very next day and bought every album they had released up until that point. Currently, along with all of their official studio/live albums and concert DVD’s, in addition I own a very sizable collection of bootlegs on just about any sort of media you can think of.

After attending an additional 22 shows over the years, the fact that I’d never have the opportunity to see them live just one more time took a long while to sink in. When it finally did, along with that came the ultimate heartbreak. That’s how deeply I love these guys and their incomparable talent, both singularly and especially as a whole.

Rush at the beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.

Their “Time Machine” tour which took place during 2010-2011 will always be one of my most memorable experiences. For the very first time, the band played the “Moving Pictures” album in its entirety, during two straight nights at Red Rocks.

Although an outdoor venue carved by the forces of nature into the side of a mountain, surprisingly it has some of the most amazing acoustics I’ve ever heard. Facing east, it also presents an unparalled view of the Denver lights, over the top of the stage.

Needless to say, and I was there for both shows.

Back to R40 at the Pepsi Center, 2015!

I snapped over 100 pictures using my cell phone from my 2nd row seat, and these are some of those which I thought turned out best under the circumstances.

They’re far from the most high-quality photos you’ll ever see, but nevertheless are naturally beloved keepsakes of mine, especially since I personally captured them.

Click thumbnails to enlarge

As their audience had always screamed at the top of their lungs… RUSH!

Their final bow…

The definitive power trio of all time may be history, but this incredible band will certainly burn on in the souls of their legions of fans, forever.

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