There’s something almost indescribable about being in the presence of greatness. And I have been in that presence.
Greatness, thy name is Neil Peart.
For two hours and 40 incredible minutes, I stood, mouth agape, watching as a 50-something year old man took drumming to an almost extraterrestrial level. On May 31, my husband, Bryan, and I celebrated our 12th anniversary a bit early at The Gorge. A few months back, I’d surprised him — more shocked him right out of his skin — with a pair of tickets to see Rush. Rush is his favorite band on the whole wide face of the animal planet. I kind of liked them a whole lot, too. Yeah, I’m the coolest wife in the world … blah, blah, blah.
It was also our first outing to The Gorge at George, which was a sight to see in itself. It was also our second concert together. The first, Metallica at Qwest Field, was a bit forgettable as neither one of us were very impressed with the whole “St. Anger” thing.
There are a couple other entertainment experiences in my life that came a bit close to Rush. In 2001, saw Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones hit a two-run home run over the center fence at Atlanta’s Turner Field. In the mid-90s, I saw a World Cup soccer game in Fresno, Calif., (the Northridge earthquake damaged the stadium in Los Angeles, forcing the game to Fresno). Rush, live at The Gorge, just took the place of both Chipper’s homerun and World Cup soccer. For me, that’s huge.
We got to The Gorge early enough to stand in line for $13 margaritas, which we promptly killed just to watch them die.
As we made our way to our seats (Section B, Row 20, seats 35 and 36), the closer we got to the stage, the more excited we both got. I was excited for Bryan, while he was excited for the show.
The music was great … practically spiritual in a non-religious way. Most songs were off “Snakes and Arrows,” but there were plenty of classics thrown in for good measure. The only song I wanted to hear live, “Tom Sawyer,” had a great lead-in with Cartman from “South Park” changing the words.
In Cartman’s version, Tom Sawyer rode down the river on a raft.
The concert almost took a second stage for me because I was having such a great time watching the crowd. It was great to see a crowd of about 90 percent men be so caught up in the moment that they forgot they were supposed to play it cool. The mandatory seat-between-men that exists in movie theaters? Nope, not here. No talking, touching or any interpersonal communication whatsoever? Rules suspended.
In particular, there was a group of guys two rows ahead and a few over who introduced themselves to each other before the show, rocked together for the entire show, then swore to remain BFFs — Best Friends Forever. These are the guys who greeted the band at the beginning with a chorus of “we’re not worthies.”
When The Man stole the show with his right-about 15 minute drum solo, I could physically see the admiration in the eyes of every man in the audience for he who is arguably the world’s best drummer. For years, my husband and all his friends have being making the argument that Neil Peart isn’t so much a drummer as he is some sort of diety. Now, I, too, could argue that case.
Through it all, my usually stoic husband sang along with nearly every song and smiled so much I thought his face would break.
Happy anniversary, sweetie. Oh, by the way, I walked out of there with a mean crush on Neil Peart.
But besides that, I’m still the coolest wife in the world.