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I Was There...

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#1 Jay



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Posted 12 January 2020 - 03:16 AM

Guess this as good a time as any to open the creaking, rusted door of the place where it all started for me, clearing away the cobwebs as I enter. I'm old now, eyes red from tears, beard gray from years. I see some vaguely familiar faces sitting around the table, the room illuminated by one single candle.

I wrote this on Facebook yesterday, and wanted to share it with the few people remaining in the old family home; where it matters the most.


I was there. Their very last show at The Forum in Inglewood CA, August 1, 2015. 8th row center. The first time I'd ever seen them not on a lawn a quarter of a mile from the stage. They were there, right in front of me. I was there.

That was it. Their final show. Neil was done. Retired. Something he'd been waiting for, for a long time. No little surprise one-off reunion jam at some tiny club in Toronto. No new album or quicke EP. Fucking Christ forbid, no bankroll replenishment reunion tour. It was their last show, and I was there.

It was perfect. The most brilliant and gorgeous bookend to the first time I saw them, my heart spilling over with joy, both times, the entire time, from house lights off, to house lights on. I was fucking there.

Being blessed enough to have earned a ticket that was worth close to $1,000, I was surrounded by absolute fucking titans of the rock music world. To my left was Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, air drumming to 2112. To my right was Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters, headbanging to Working Man. Two rows behind me was Danny Carey from Tool. Danny mother fucking Carey from TOOL. He was standing there the with an ear to ear grin the entire show. He was there. I was there.

Having spent a few years in recording studios and around the music scene, I'd met a good amount of famous people, and after a while, you stop getting starstruck. After all's said and done, they're just regular people doing their thing. But Danny Carey from Tool was practically standing over my shoulders, with his ear to ear grin. Danny fucking Carey from Tool. A god in the rock drumming world. I was there.

It was the first time in an extremely long time that I'd felt starstruck. During intermission, I wanted nothing more than to go talk to him, to tell him how huge of an impact his music made on my life, and hopefully maybe get a selfie. He was standing around chit-chatting with his friends, not looking too particularly engaged in anything. Just as I was about to give into the temptation, I remembered that ear to ear grin, and it hit me: in that moment, he wasn't Danny fucking Carey from Tool, titan among titans. He was Danny Carey, Rush fan; I was Jesse, Rush fan. We were the same people there for the same reason: to marvel at our heroes one last time, and I was fucking there.

I didn't approach him. I didn't interrupt him shooting the shit with his pals. The house lights came back down for the second set, and came back his ear to ear grin. He was Danny Carey, Rush fan; I was Jesse, Rush fan. He was there, fanboying the fuck out just like me. I wouldn't take that away from him. Maybe someone else would, and most likely did, but not me. He was Danny Carey, Rush fan and I was Jesse, Rush fan. And I was there.

Neil Peart was an EXTREMELY shy man. From the beginning, at the end of a show, he was out the door and on his motorcycle to the next venue before the house lights came on. Not that night. As Geddy Lee was giving his usual goodnight speech, Neil ran up to the front of the stage and put his arm over Geddy's shoulder. Even Geddy was taken aback by the gesture, exclaiming into his mic "oh, well this is a surprise!" Neil motioned Alex Lifeson over into his other arm, and they took a bow. All three of them. It was unheard of. These thousands of people were witnessing something special. And I was there, 8th row center. The smile on Neil's face as they took their bow. Danny Carey's ear to ear grin as he clapped. That was Neil saying goodbye to us. I was there.

When I got the phone call from one of my best friends this afternoon, my heart dropped to the floor like an anchor with those two words from her shaking voice: "Neil died." I was there. It sort of registered, but it sort of didn't. I wasn't there, but I was there.

As I sit here, tapping these little buttons on my phone, thinking back on that show, and the last 24 years that their music has been with me through it all, almost crying into my pint glass in front of a pub full of people, I was there.

I'm still there.

I'm still here.
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#2 grep


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Posted 12 January 2020 - 03:43 AM

Beautiful. Thank you. I'm glad you were there.

#3 sbach66


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Posted 12 January 2020 - 03:49 AM

Great post, good sir.

#4 fenderjazz


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Posted 12 January 2020 - 04:33 AM

Love the way you tell that Jay! Welcome home

#5 madrigal


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Posted 12 January 2020 - 05:43 AM

And you are still there, Jay. We all are. Miss you, friend.

#6 The Gangster of Boats

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 06:54 AM

We've missed you dude.

FJ has managed to keep this crazy-assed biker bar open.

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#7 Rush Didact

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 07:55 PM

Beautifully said, Jay.  I wish I'd seen the final tour...

#8 Slim


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Posted 28 January 2020 - 04:00 PM

Hey everyone.


I always wanted to see Rush in Toronto. I always thought that the very last Rush gig would probably take place there. It's a shame that the actual last gig wasn't known to be the very last one until quite some time after it took place. It would have had quite a sense of occasion.

#9 fenderjazz


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Posted 29 January 2020 - 02:56 PM

Rush in Toronto was a miss for me as well.  Also a regret for me.  Being in the northeast US there always were five shows per tour within easy driving distance plus in the past I was also willing to take a few days and go further than the northeast.

#10 bytor11


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Posted 29 January 2020 - 08:22 PM

Thankful I was able to see Rush in Toronto twice, 1994 and R30, both fantastic hometown performances, and the final LA show.

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