^^^ It's about time!
Mike's liner notes on this one.
Published on May 8, 2017
"Limelight" by Rush, an acoustic cover by Mike Massé, featuring Jeff Hall. Prepare to be Rushified! [Laptop speakers not recommended.]
Liner Notes: "I want you to please welcome home...RUSH!" [Ba-da-da da-da-da Ba-da-da da-da-da Ba-da-da da-da-da, dum dum dum...] Rush is tied with Genesis as my second favorite band of all time (behind the Beatles). I think they'd be completely cool with that. I have my dear sister Monica to thank for discovery Rush. She went and saw them on the "Moving Pictures" tour (so lucky!). My friend Jenny Stuart from across the street came over, and I mentioned that Monica was at a Rush concert. "Who's Rush?" The rest is history. We spent the afternoon listening to my sister's LP's of Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves. We were both hooked, and for me, it was the beginning of a lifelong fandom. I began collecting their LP's as fast as a could, and each one was a joy to discover and explore. Never before had I been so simultaneously and thoroughly entertained, educated and edified by music. We were living in Satellite Beach, FL, at the time, and I was lucky enough to catch Rush on their next tour, "Signals" in March of 1983 at the Lakeland Civic Center. Because of our proximity to Kennedy Space Center, we could literally see space shuttle launches from my house. I remember the space shuttle flying low over our elementary school during recess on the back of a 747 on its return trip, after landing in California. Rush playing "Countdown" at that show was a big deal for us. I got to see them several times after that, and was lucky enough to get to meet Geddy and Alex during their final (*sniff*) tour, R40, along with two of my best lifelong friends, Scott Slusher and Ken Benson.
As Ken said, "Neil captured the moment quite well, don't you think?"
For me, Rush is a one-of-a-kind mind meld of three musicians. Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, the lifelong friends, perfectly in sync, with Geddy as the anointed voice for Neil's lyrics. Drawing from literature, philosophy, and his own life experiences, the lyrics touch on life's most important questions and contradictions. As the listener, you yearn for answers with him, you search for meaning with him, and you confront your insecurities and fears with him. Easily my favorite lyricist.
Neil and I have a mutual friend, who shared my YouTube stuff with him. It was a huge thrill to hear that Neil knows I exist and enjoyed my music. He particularly thought "Africa" was great, and noticed my attire, "He's wearing a Rush shirt!" If I ever met Neil, I hope I'd muster the courage to tell him how much his music meant to me during my son Noah's cancer battle. I listened to "The Garden" every night going to sleep in a little cell-sized guest room adjacent to the ICU, during those worst early days of fear. "In this one of many possible worlds, all for the best, or some bizarre test?" I had been reading his books, so those words meant so much more to me coming from someone who had himself suffered immeasurable loss. So Neil, if we ever met, you wouldn't have to pretend I was a long-awaited friend. But hopefully you'd sense the gratitude of a kindred soul.
Geddy Lee, I pretty much put him right behind Paul McCartney as the G.O.A.T. in terms of individual rock musicianship. Enough said.
And Alex. Oh man, Alex. My favorite guitarist. What more can I say? Blah blah blah blah....
He comes up with the coolest dang guitar parts I've ever heard. It's always the perfect complement to the song, but also nothing you were expecting. He makes "weird" parts sound normal.
Plus his humor. Rush always struck the perfect balance of taking the music seriously without taking themselves too seriously.
I hope to eventually make a Rush pilgrimage to Toronto. How cool would it be to have Masse and Hall play at Massey Hall.
Bucket list gig!
A big thanks to Jeff Hall for slappin' da bass. We actually did this one live together a couple of times, during the Pie days. The first time we did it, one diehard Rush fan in the audience said it was great, but he asked "where's the new guy?" So yes, drummers out there, feel free to play along to make up for the absence of the Professor. This was the first split screen video I've done with Jeff, but it won't be the last. Both of us playing "live in the studio" simultaneously isn't quite the same as a live gig video, but it's the next best thing.
Thanks to my friend Jamie McGregor for the custom-designed shirt.