Neil Peart: An Appreciation

“Against the run of the mill / Swimming against the stream.”

“We break the surface tension with our wild kinetic dreams…”

“So much style without substance / So much stuff without style…”

“It’s hard to recognize the real thing / It comes along once in a while.”

-from “Grand Designs” by Rush (1985)

We all fantasize about meeting our heroes some day, no matter what cautions conventional wisdom might offer to the contrary. For but one example, I used to have literal recurring dreams about meeting Neil Peart, renowned drummer and lyricist for the band Rush, though with his shocking death last week from brain cancer at the age of 67, those long-standing desires have now sadly crossed over into the realm of permanent fantasy. Neil didn’t do meet and greet sessions, either before or after shows. He tried for a little while at the beginning, but found it simply wasn’t his thing. When Rush’s breathtaking run ended on their own terms in 2015, the band was as or more popular than they’d been in decades, and forty years of continuity is a heck of a long time to deny your fans the access they crave. But Neil and his admiration society had an understanding. Despite acclimation far and wide as one of a handful of the best drummers in the history of rock and roll – for, at the end of the day, he was surely the most influential – Neil was a humble, mild-mannered, and famously private person. Adulation on any level made him uncomfortable, and adoring throngs arguably don’t come any more vocal or vociferous than Rush fans. Continue reading “Neil Peart: An Appreciation”

The tics, twists, and Pavlovian bells of “Rock Band 4”

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So it’s come to this. In a week literally bookended for me by two concerts in two states (one of which you’ll hear tell eventually and the other of which was perfectly awesome, but too short and sweet to fit this format), a mere four days removed from a month that is essentially a rolling, 31-day horror film festival, with my childhood favorite baseball team having just been brutally, decisively removed from World Series contention (Thank you so much for this year, Mets!) and my childhood favorite football team dealing with critically uneven play from its franchise QB fresh off the disabled list even as its league best RB goes down to a heartrending, season-ending injury, have I somehow run out of things to talk about? Nah. It’s just that I’ve found this new thing, this one time. Continue reading “The tics, twists, and Pavlovian bells of “Rock Band 4””

Concert review: Rush

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WARNING: What follows contains, necessarily, not only the requisite whole lotta words (even for me) but also a good number of details (set list specifics, other surprises) that I, personally, would not necessarily want to know if I still had a pending ticket to see this tour. Please tread lightly if you do.

Abandon all objectivity, ye who enter here, for I am a Rush fan. Sorry & Thx.

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH – June 8, 2015

There’s a level on which I’m so close to the music of Rush that it makes it functionally impossible to write about the band. That would help explain the excessive amount of time I’ve spent pondering how to start this review over the past several days, or the handful of false starts I did put to page only to subsequently abandon. Note that I never said “write objectively”, because that’s already a non-starter. When it comes to Rush, I am strictly dispassionate, in much the same way that Jack Skellington, George Bailey, Ebenezer Scrooge (reformed), Clark Griswold, or Buddy the Elf can either take the subject of Christmas or leave it. The Canadian power trio has been entrenched as my favorite band for just over two decades now, a position only three other artists have ever even officially held, with comparatively little sense of permanence and for half the time combined. Continue reading “Concert review: Rush”

Post No. 75: Unlimited Mileage

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Every 25th post, darkadaptedeye takes a planned break from normal business to plumb the shallow depths of its author’s psyche and/or overtly explore the locked attic of memories it only ever really dabbles in otherwise. You might think of it as a pit stop, or maybe a soft reboot. In “Danse Macabre”, Stephen King termed his own such digression “An Annoying Autobiographical Pause”, which I choose to think was kind of charming. Please know I take seriously the challenge of making patent self-indulgence interesting – actual results be damned – and I appreciate you being game. We’ll return to our irregularly scheduled programming shortly…

I traveled to my first ever concert, even if that only involved driving twenty minutes to a neighboring town. I was twelve at the time, eyes wide and overwhelmed, senses primed for meltdown, attention seemingly focused everywhere at once and dutifully lip-synching along to the “hits” even as I struggled to pick words out of the all-encompassing sonic wash. The act in question – whose identity, assuming you don’t already know it, you will only learn from my deathbed – hardly warranted such excitement, but I was content with what I had to work with. That wouldn’t always be the case. Continue reading “Post No. 75: Unlimited Mileage”