First, a bit of my personal history.
I got into rock-n-roll when I was around 11 or 12 years old, 1981 or 1982, and my introduction to Rush was with Moving Pictures. I liked the music a lot, like almost everyone else at that time, but I was just a casual fan back then. I was more into Van Halen, Def Leppard, and various other hard rock bands at that time.
I liked the Signals album, but I wasn't crazy about it, so I remained just a casual Rush fan. I had very mixed feelings about Grace Under Pressure. I didn't immediately like the new sound of Rush, but the songs and the style grew on me over time.
I was too young to go to many concerts, and I didn't have anyone older to take me, so I missed out on seeing many different bands during those few years. I got my stepdad to take me and a friend to our first concert, which was The Police, the Syncronicity tour, in 1983. UB40 was the opening band, and people were smoking pot all over the place. That was a very good first concert. I also saw Van Halen, Aerosmith, and a couple of other bands between 1983 and 1985.
My older cousin took me to see Rush for the first time on January 15, 1986. It was the Power Windows tour and it was at The Summit, in Houston. Needless to say, I was instantly converted into upper-mid-tier Rush fan status. Rush blew me away with their quality of musicianship and the power of their music. I didn't know too many of the songs they played, other than the newer and most popular ones. As a matter of fact, in hindsight, they only played around three songs that predated Moving Pictures. Anyhow, I was like, "Wow, I wanna see them every time they come now!"
And I did see them every time they came to Houston, for the next 30 years. (Every tour except one... the R30 tour, which we couldn't make for reasons I cannot recall, but which still burns me up to this day!)
It took time for Rush to REALLY grow on me, but with each show I graduated to another level of Rush fandom. I think by the time I got to Counterparts or Test for Echo, they had become my favorite band, although in my mind, I still wasn't a hardcore Rush fan... yet.
It wasn't until after the Vapor Trails tour that I found myself really digging into all of the albums, listening to every single song, and paying attention to all of the lyrics. My Rush appreciation elevated from that point on and that's when I became emotional about Rush. They moved me, they moved me. And I think that's when I became a hardcore fan. "Emotion transmitted, emotion received"
Okay, so on to my experience at the R40 show.
I bought a ticket for another cousin of mine who had never seen Rush before, but who loves all kinds of rock music... especially classic rock. So I knew he would appreciate seeing Rush live. We had floor seats in the middle section, so not too bad. I had just gotten over being sick for about 2 weeks with a slight pneumonia, and I had been taking antibiotics during that time. But I was much better, and I think I was about 95% recovered at that time.
So we got to the arena, I bought my R40 concert football style jersey, and I put it on, over my original Roll the Bones concert shirt. We got to our seats and waited for the show to start. During this time we talked to some other Rush fans around our seats. And I love this about Rush fans, almost everyone shares their love and appreciation for the band with each other. Rush fans are so open and friendly to each other... it's great. We met a couple who had been fans since the mid 70's, we met a mom who's son was sitting next to us, while she was sitting up near front row. And get this... she was at like her 3rd or 4th show of the tour... travelling around the country seeing Rush shows... with great seats and backstage passes!! So cool, and I was so envious of that.
The show started, we're having a blast, enjoying the music, and the performance. My cousin really started getting into it when they got to Subdivisions. So the intermission started and although the Toyota Center had the AC going, I started feeling a bit hot and thirsty. But I didn't really want to leave my seat and go to the concession stands, so I saw one of the beer vendors walking by and I bought a large, cold beer.
Important fact: I'm not much of a drinker, and I never have been. I'm a lightweight and I almost never drink beer.
But I got the beer because I was hot and I just wanted to cool off and quench my thirst. I drank the large beer fairly quickly, maybe in about 15 to 20 minutes. The second set started and by the time they got to The Spirit of Radio I was beginning to feel a bit off. I started feeling slightly dizzy and I was getting sweaty. As time went on those symptoms were growing stronger and I started thinking, "Damn, I shouldn't have drank that beer.". I'm thinking the combination of being too hot and drinking a beer, which I'm not used to drinking, probably has messed up my system a bit. So I take off the football jersey and I lean back into the folded seat, sort of half sitting. I just want to cool off and wait it out a little, because I figure it'll pass once I cool off and let the beer metabolize or something.
My cousin saw me and asked if I was okay. I told him I was okay, but that I just got too hot and that maybe the beer got to me. He said okay and continued to watch the show. I sat down fully in the chair so that I could get comfortable and lean back into it. I had my eyes shut and I was sweating profusely. I tried to keep my eyes shut, just relax and listen to Rush playing Jacob's Ladder. A few moments later my cousin was trying to lift me up and out of the chair, and he was calling my name. I answered him as if I was just kind of dosing off. He asked me again if I was okay and I told him yes, and that I was just resting. But he told me that I was almost unconscious and that he was tapping me for about 10 seconds before he decided to lift me up.
By this time a few other fans sitting next to us had noticed what was going on and some asked if I was alright. I explained to everyone that I just got really hot and that I thought the beer had made it worse. I assured everyone that I was okay, and that I just needed to sit and cool off. Some great fans a few seats over passed me a cold cup of ice water. Everyone went back to watching the show, including my cousin, who was also keeping a close eye on me as well. I continued to sit with my eyes closed and I tried very hard to just relax and enjoy the sounds of my favorite songs being played... at that moment it was Cygnus X-1, I believe.
Although I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't getting to see the band at that moment, I knew that my equilibrium was being best served by keeping my eyes shut for a little while. For the rest of the concert I pretty much stayed seated, but I was opening my eyes periodically to see the band playing, and I was listening intently.
When the show ended I watched as Geddy said goodnight and how he hoped they we see us all again sometime. We sat as the crowd slowly dispersed and I think someone must have notified the staff that about my issues because a medical team came to me a few moments later. They took me to their triage area, checked me out, and I explained what happened and what my symptoms were during the show. All of my vital signs were fairly normal and they didn't find anything out of the ordinary. All assumptions pointed to the fact that I had just been very sick for the previous two weeks, had been taking antibiotics, and that I probably exacerbated my overheating by drinking alcohol, which my system doesn't handle well to begin with.
So after all of that, my memory of the R40 show (which is probably going to be my last Rush show) is tainted by my negative experience. I still enjoyed the show, as much as I could under the circumstances. My cousin got to see Rush and he enjoyed it. Although I'm sure his memory of it is a bit tainted too... because of me.
But I must say that my biggest regret and sorrow about that evening... comes from my feelings that I may have tainted the R40 experience for some of the other Rush fans sitting around me. It's hard for me to bear the possibility that I may have caused some fans to miss part of the show, or that I may have caused them to be distracted from the show. I feel terrible about that.
As a devoted Rush fan myself, I have the deepest respect and appreciation for other Rush fans... and I would never have wanted to diminish what may be... their final Rush concert experience.
For that, I just want to give my sincerest apologies to any of the fans that may have been there and been affected by it. And I hope they still enjoyed the show.
I also want to give my utmost thanks and respect to the fans sitting a few seats away who gave me the ice water.
Rush fans, a family indeed.
Edited by Cmutt, 13 January 2017 - 05:24 PM.