Tag Archives: Rush

One More Year, One More Super-Duper Year

Another birthday has come and gone and I have officially fallen out of the target demographic. Only a few days ago I was still in the “18 – 34” range, the folks to whom marketers constantly pander their movies and video games, their sexy body sprays and their late night talk shows. Until Saturday, my opinion counted. Now the only thing marketers want to know from me is whether I find my fiber supplement too gritty or if blue is really the best color for a certain little pill.

What a load of crap.

The truth is, I love birthdays. I love them because I’m surrounded by people who get me. Friday night Laura prepared a Tex-Mex feast: black bean fajita pizza, taco pizza, and all the trimmings for tacos y burritos. My in-laws came over for dinner and birthday cake, the boys came over for a Very Special Game Night, and Kyle helped me blow out an obscene number of candles.

After everyone had eaten, we played Descent a dungeon-crawl board game from Fantasy Flight Games, the folks who brought you Arkham Horror and Marvel Heroes. As with the aforementioned Horror and Heroes, Descent is jam-packed with fiddly bits and rules that describe how those fiddly bits are to be utilized. This leads to play sessions that last several hours. The game wrapped up after midnight, when the evil overlord crushed the pathetic do-gooders (except for my mage, who kicked acres of ass and was never slain) beneath his evil boot.

Miscellaneous G™ was the aforementioned overlord, and—to be frank—I don’t think he has the stomach for villainy. I got the distinct feeling that he was going easy on us. Even so, he did manage to emerge from the dungeon victorious. Or perhaps he didn’t emerge at all; perhaps he’s still down there, spawning beast men into empty rooms in preparation for the next party of foolhardy, ill-prepared adventurers.

On Saturday when Kyle was taking his nap, I went shopping. I had a little gift card goodness burning a hole in my wallet and the only remedy was to amass stuff. Here’s the rundown on the loot:

  • Alien vs. Predator: Requiem 2-disc Unrated Digital Copy Special Edition. This is where my blind belief that more discs equates to better finally bit me on the ass. The Digital Copy Special Edition does indeed include a second disc, the contents of which do not include special features above and beyond what is on the first disc. The second disc contains the movie in three different file formats designed for use with portable media devices (e.g. video iPod, iPhone, Microsoft Zune). I don’t own such a device, so the second disc is essentially useless to me. You’d think after thirty-five years on the planet I might have learned a little something about comparison shopping, but you—like me—would be sorely mistaken.
  • Dark City. Here’s a movie that really, really needs a special edition DVD. I’ve been holding off on picking it up until such a special edition was released, but finally realized that the only way to ensure a new release is for me to buy the current, unspecial edition. ((For supporting historical data, see the Hellboy 3-disc Special Edition.))
  • Rush: A Show of Hands concert DVD. A Show of Hands was (along with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From The New World”, both on cassette) the first album I ever owned. I acquired it as a “prize” for selling magazine subscriptions in my sophomore year of high school. ((Yes, I was nearly 16 years old before I started buying my own music.)) I’ve got a lot of memories of that album; along with Yello’s Stella, A Show of Hands was the soundtrack for much of my mis-spent computer gaming youth. ((What was I playing? Why Thexder and Pool of Radiance and The Ancient Art of War at Sea, for starters. Plenty of others, too, but many of them had their own soundtracks.))
  • Deadwood soundtrack. It’s nearly two minutes into the album before Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) utters the word “cocksucker”; I believe that’s about a minute and a half longer than it took in the first episode of the series. There’s some very, very good music on this CD. Gustavo Santaolalla’s “Iguazu” in particular is very evocative of the tense, edgy feel of the series, though it probably wouldn’t feel that way if I didn’t so closely associate the two.
  • The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo. I’ve heard good things about this war-veteran-turned-vampire-private-detective novel, so I thought it was high time I picked it up. The sequels are titled X-Rated Bloodsuckers and The Undead Kama Sutra, but I can’t imagine they’re any raunchier than the Anita Blake novels Laurell K. Hamilton continues to crank out on a weekly basis.
  • Idlewild by Nick Sagan. If I have my way, this will be the next title in The Secret Library. I’ve never read any of Nick Sagan’s stuff, but there is reality of an entirely virtual nature, which ought to prove interesting provided it in no way resembles Second Life.

Kyle helped Laura pick out a very nice Marvel t-shirt featuring Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Incredible Hulk. The print on the shirt seems designed to make me wear it untucked. I only point this out because Laura frequently urges me to wear t-shirts untucked but I am compelled to tuck. I suspect it is a weakness of character on my part.

I also received some very funny birthday cards and one, from my younger brother, from which Spongebob Squarepants shouts “One more year! One more year! One more super-duper year! One more super-duper, extra-spectacular…” when it is opened. Yeah. Kyle likes that one. Again and again and again.

Musicstuff: Rush in Concert

Snakes & Arrows
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If you were a fan of progressive rock when Rush arrived on the music scene thirty-three years ago, there’s a good chance that a 7:30 concert is going to have you up way past your bedtime. ((Oh, and if that concert is on a Thursday evening and you’ve got to work the following morning, you’re probably better off staying home to watch Baretta reruns and sip a tall, cool glass of Metamucil.)) If, on the other hand, your first real exposure to the Canadian trio was sometime after the Ford ((No, Gerald.)) administration, then you (like me) are likely still a virile young buck with more than enough energy to propel you to eleven o’clock and far beyond.

Thursday night, thousands of Rush fans gave their bedtimes the collective middle finger and descended upon the Blossom Music Center; the elder crowd to have their socks rocked off, the younger generation to have their B0XX0RZ R0XX0R3D down to their S0XX0RS. Cranking out nearly thirty songs that spanned more than three decades of music in just under three hours, Rush definitely brought the rock to Blossom and I find it hard to believe anyone could have walked away unsatisfied. A wee bit deaf, perhaps, but certainly not unsatisfied.

Because I am apparently made of stupid, I left my cell phone in the MVoD on the way to the concert. This was disappointing for several reasons: At the start of the concert I wanted to call my brother, Keven, to gloat a bit; ((He saw the concert when the 2007 Snakes & Arrows Tour kicked off in Atlanta, so he’s got no real reason to whine.)) I also wanted to call blob when Rush played “Tom Sawyer”, because I am a jerk; and I wanted to take a few photos of myself and others enjoying the concert. ((I’m especially annoyed at this, because I missed the opportunity to capture Air Guitar Man’s rocking solo.)) Fortunately, I was able to convince another concert-goer to e-mail me a couple of photos he took with his cell phone (a Motorola Razr, I believe). ((Thank you, Chris, for indulging me; the photos you took are at least as good as (and probably better than) anything I would have snapped with my Treo 650.))

Rush in Concert at Blossom
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The show, as I mentioned previously, nearly covered the entirety of Rush’s thirty-three year musical history. Though there were no tunes from their first three albums, they did play “A Passage to Bangkok” from 2112 (1976). There was also a very satisfying sampling of songs from both Permanent Waves (1980) and Moving Pictures (1981), a handful of songs covering 1982 (including the excellent “Subdivisions” from Signals) through 2004, and a whopping nine tracks from Snakes & Arrows. A complete set list can be found on the tour’s Wikipedia entry.

Highlights of the show included Bob and Doug McKenzie introducing “The Larger Bowl” and a hilarious South Park skit featuring Eric Cartman as Geddy Lee that led into a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Tom Sawyer”. Then, of course, there was Neil Peart’s fantastic ten-minute drum solo. I don’t imagine anyone had to convince Neil to do a drum solo, but I suspect the conversation would have gone something like this:

PITCHMAN: Okay, Neil, here’s what we’re thinking: we want to surround you with 250 objects of various shapes and sizes and we want you to pound on them with wooden sticks for about ten minutes. Do you think you can do that?

NEIL PEART: Of course I can do that! I’m Neil Peart, aren’t I?

He most certainly is, ((I believe my words to Rae Lamond on the subject of Neil Peart were something along the lines of “he may be the best drummer in the history of men hitting stuff with sticks”.)) and watching him do his thing on stage was awe-inspiring. I almost felt sorry for Alex Lifeson, who followed Neil’s frenetically fantastic percussion with “Hope”, an acoustic guitar solo. The saving grace for Lifeson is that “Hope” is quite possibly my favorite song from Snakes & Arrows (the second being “The Main Monkey Business”, another instrumental piece) and it was a nice, almost mellow counterpoint to previous 360-plus seconds of unrelenting, ferocious energy.

Rush Concert
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My own stupidity aside, I thought the concert was incredible. I was very pleased and impressed with both the quantity and quality of the songs played (though I would have liked to hear “Red Barchetta” and “Bastille Day”) and also with the energy generated by three guys who are (to quote Geddy) “a million years old”. I have to give props to Schoon (another Chris) for scoring the tickets way back in April of 1997 (((ish) )) and for providing transportation to and from Blossom. Thanks again to the other Chris for sending me the photos, and thanks to Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart for rocking me sockless. Oh, and a special thanks to my brother, Keven, for getting me hooked on Rush at an early age.