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Am I the only one who needed closure?


Rush Didact
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Shortly after his book tour ended, something Ged said in an interview struck me: one of the reasons he did the tour was for closure - for himself, yes, but also for us.  That the way Rush had ended was so murky and dissatisfying, and ultimately tragic, he felt we needed to see him and Al on a stage together again to give the band a proper goodbye, even if they weren't up there playing music.

 

At the time, it seemed like the kind of thing that people say in situations like this, just another cliche.  What is "closure", anyways?  But now that a few months have gone by, I'm starting to realize that I actually did need some kind of closure, and that Neil's unexpected death had left me in a sort of limbo that I couldn't get out of.

 

From January 2020 until last December, when I saw Ged's show at Massey Hall, I probably listened to more Rush than I did in the whole decade before it.  Their music was constantly playing in my car, I listened to the entire Something for Nothing podcast from first episode to last, and I spent countless hours talking about the band online.  But all the sudden, since that evening, it's like I found something I didn't even realize I was looking for, and I've been able to let go.  I've gone from listening to the band compulsively, to hardly listening to them at all.  I've left a bunch of Facebook Rush groups, stopped looking for news and videos, and they've generally been less present in my life.  It doesn't feel like neglect so much as acceptance, though.  It feels okay.

 

Turns out Ged was right, and he gave me exactly what I needed.  I'm curious if anyone else went through something similar...

Edited by Rush Didact
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I think I'm in agreement with you. When Rush just up and stopped after the short R40 tour in 2015, I kind of just tried to forget about the band itself. Listened to little of the music and didn't think much of for a few years. Once Neil died, I started remembering a bit more, listening to a little more of the music again. When Geddy's book was announced, I really started thinking about the band and how long they were a big part of my life. Reading the book nearly instantly upon release felt like reliving parts of my younger life, and like you, it felt like the closure I didn't know I needed, but ended up happy to have.

 

Thanks for 400 pages of word salad, Geddy!

Edited by That One Guy
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I fully went into my R40 show expecting this to be the very final show I'll ever see from them.  I was seeing my favorite band go out on top. I even bought Neil's R40 travel book, Far and Wide and went to see Geddy & Alex do an interview/signing at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, but that more just felt like an epilogue. Following Neil's death, that stung quite a bit especially with the 1-2 punch of COVID and a crisis in my personal life almost immediately after. His death caused me to return to their music after a bit of a hiatus and made me appreciate his words and his talent behind the kit even more.

 

Geddy's book just feels like an additional epilogue to a book i closed long ago. It's a great read and I'm grateful that he released such a detailed retelling of his life and time in the band, even if he could have given us another 200 pages. It gave me a better understanding of how much he and the others truly busted their asses to make it and the sacrifices that came with his level of fame. And again, after not listening to Rush for a long while, I burned through the entire discography (studio and live) as I read through the book. This band remains my absolute favorite even if my listening wanes every now and then. It just hits harder when I return to it after a long time away.

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Rush was and is my favorite band but my feelings are not in line with yours.  I saw them in the CA tour at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn NY.   I watched the show and was 100% positive it was a farewell tour.  I already viewed the album as a farewell album and The Garden as there last song.  I made my peace with them going off the stage then and there.  I actually saw them latter on the tour at SPAC but it was .... I don't know how to phrase it.  Just an after thought.  A nice afterthought, but an afterthought.  I had already said goodbye. 

 

I never saw them on the R40 tour.  MSG was the nearest show and it was sold out before I could get a ticket.  I assumed they would come to SPAC as they normally played SPAC when on tour but they did not.  Disappointing?  Yes.  But not earthshaking.  I would have been nice to see them but emotionally I had said goodbye already.  I had closure when I walked out of the Barclays Center show on the CA tour.

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To be honest, I had my closure when I first heard that Neil had retired.  I knew then that the band was all done.  No reunion tours.  No more albums.  I felt really good about it, and I was happy for Neil.  

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Principled Man
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Posted (edited)

I think my own experience is a little bit different in that I missed the R40 tour.  (The last time I saw them was the S&A tour in 2008; I was out of the country for the CA and Time Machine tours.)  I was in Toronto the week that they played there, and if I'd put some effort into it, I could have found a ticket.  For whatever reason, I didn't.  It just wasn't important at that particular moment in my life, I guess — I was a week away from leaving for the Arctic for a year, and I had other things on my mind.

 

When it became clear that R40 was the last tour, that decision started to bother me and slowly morphed into regret.  When Neil died, it suddenly became much bigger and more painful.  I suppose I assumed there would be some one-off reunion down the road, that I'd have a chance to make up for missing it, and then without warning that possibility was gone.

 

Seeing Ged and Al on stage at Massey Hall wasn't exactly going back in time to fix that mistake, but it did let me forgive myself.

Edited by Rush Didact
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3 hours ago, Rush Didact said:

I think my own experience is a little bit different in that I missed the R40 tour.  (The last time I saw them was the S&A tour in 2008; I was out of the country for the CA and Time Machine tours.)  I was in Toronto the week that they played there, and if I'd put some effort into it, I could have found a ticket.  For whatever reason, I didn't.  It just wasn't important at that particular moment in my life, I guess — I was a week away from leaving for the Arctic for a year, and I had other things on my mind.

 

When it became clear that R40 was the last tour, that decision started to bother me and slowly morphed into regret.  When Neil died, it suddenly became much bigger and more painful.  I suppose I assumed there would be some one-off reunion down the road, that I'd have a chance to make up for missing it, and then without warning that possibility was gone.

 

Seeing Ged and Al on stage at Massey Hall wasn't exactly going back in time to fix that mistake, but it did let me forgive myself.

This might sound snarky...but I don't mean it to - I think there was some mythologizing around R40 and the idea that they were going out "at the top of their game".  Certainly Geddy wasn't in peak form as a vocalist...and I think Alex had some less than stellar moments on that tour as well.  As for Neil...I think he played very competently, as always...but there had been a fire missing for quite a few tours, I think.  I say that so that you don't beat yourself up too much on missing the tour.  It was a pretty great set list, especially the 2nd half...but it's quite likely you saw a better tour.  

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54 minutes ago, Timbale said:

This might sound snarky...but I don't mean it to - I think there was some mythologizing around R40 and the idea that they were going out "at the top of their game".  Certainly Geddy wasn't in peak form as a vocalist...and I think Alex had some less than stellar moments on that tour as well.  As for Neil...I think he played very competently, as always...but there had been a fire missing for quite a few tours, I think.  I say that so that you don't beat yourself up too much on missing the tour.  It was a pretty great set list, especially the 2nd half...but it's quite likely you saw a better tour.  

 

The first show I saw was on the VT tour, and they were absolutely killing it.  It's probably the most memorable concert of my life.

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20 hours ago, Rush Didact said:

 

The first show I saw was on the VT tour, and they were absolutely killing it.  It's probably the most memorable concert of my life.

100% agree.  VT is by far my least favorite Rush album but the show on that tour that I saw at SPAC was magic.  It turned me from a Rush fan into a huge Rush fan.  Before it they were one of my very favorite bands.  After it they were my favorite band - no other band was even close to them.  That its still the case.

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I got to see R40 twice with a group of high-school buddies that I'd seen a dozen shows with.  It was special, and we had a pretty good idea that those shows were the end of the road.  When Neil passed, that was a final confirmation. 

 

I still listen to their music quite a bit, and I revisit videos like The Boys in Brazil or Dinner With Rush to remind myself if the great times the band gave me over a 40 year span.  As for the book, I really enjoyed the first four chapters, especially Chapter 3.  

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I've been going into shows since Test For Echo thinking it was the final tour. I knew Clockwork Angels was the final tour (and for Neil at least it was.) R40 for me was kind of a coda. I was fine with it being the end, but it was clear Geddy wasn't soon after. (It did break the recent trend of at least two tour legs and there were definitely some wires crossed.) The emotions are still raw in the Time Stand Still doc. That said, the bass book tour was my opportunity to say "thank you." The memoir tour was kind of a celebratory thing so it felt really good to experience that and it was therapeutic for anyone that needed it.

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On 3/28/2024 at 11:37 PM, Timbale said:

This might sound snarky...but I don't mean it to - I think there was some mythologizing around R40 and the idea that they were going out "at the top of their game".  Certainly Geddy wasn't in peak form as a vocalist...and I think Alex had some less than stellar moments on that tour as well.  As for Neil...I think he played very competently, as always...but there had been a fire missing for quite a few tours, I think.  I say that so that you don't beat yourself up too much on missing the tour.  It was a pretty great set list, especially the 2nd half...but it's quite likely you saw a better tour.  

 

Compared to a number of their peers, they absolutely went out near the top. They stopped long before they became a parody of themselves. Sure Geddy's voice had degraded a bit after Snakes & Arrows, but the band still played extremely well. If I remember correctly, most of Alex's flubs were at the start of the tour. Once things got going, they were on fire. It's a shame Geddy waited 40 years to start getting into esoteric basses. That was also a real treat.

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There is a difference between closure of Rush as a touring/material creating entity and my journey/love of the material that they created for over 40 years.  The former may have occurred but the latter will live on indefinitely for me. 

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On 3/28/2024 at 11:37 PM, Timbale said:

This might sound snarky...but I don't mean it to - I think there was some mythologizing around R40 and the idea that they were going out "at the top of their game".  Certainly Geddy wasn't in peak form as a vocalist...and I think Alex had some less than stellar moments on that tour as well.  As for Neil...I think he played very competently, as always...but there had been a fire missing for quite a few tours, I think.  I say that so that you don't beat yourself up too much on missing the tour.  It was a pretty great set list, especially the 2nd half...but it's quite likely you saw a better tour.  

 

Yes their playing was not at its peak in R 40, but that setlist was the best setlist in decades for those fans who appreciate '70s Rush more than '80s rush. That was the setlist I waited 30 years for.

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Rush Didact, I really appreciate your post, have been thinking about it for a couple of days.

 

Perhaps my reply is more to offer support for you than summarising my own experience, but obviously I am keen to share. I never felt a need for closure.

I needed closure when a former member of these forums passed away - because it was a bit unknown, they were a complete stranger to me and yet I was drawn in to their world. But the band? I feel it was pretty clear.

 

I believed the talk around the R40 tour that it could be their last. I got two tickets, told my brother down in Toronto that he was going with me on the Friday night and it would be special. The years of silence that followed didn't actually strike me as odd. I have been a fan my entire life, older brothers listening to them, my friends' older brothers also, all Willowdale people. I remember walking home from Cub Scouts and Scouts with my chums and we would speculate that "They live in Casa Loma and you can only see private shows if you are really close to them!". We explored the grounds of the CNE deciding where exactly they filmed a video with Max Webster. We collected golf balls from the Don River, literally walking through muck with bags in our hands, slowly filling them with over-shot balls to sell for a nickel so we could buy Lolas and bottles of Coke. Caress Of Steel and the Necromancer was our sound track. I listened to 2112 endlessly on my Sony Walkman delivering the Globe and Mail every morning before school.

 

To this day I listen to any CD I randomly pull from a shelf and listen on the way to a camping trip, a bike ride, on a road trip. I don't absolutely love every album, but that isn't a thing for me. I focus on the stories they tell about the difficulties of one album or another, the final mixes and perhaps disappointments that follow. They were the hardest working, most experimental, most willing to try musicians I have read about.

 

Closure? After R40 and the relative silence that followed, Geddy and Alex doing projects, nothing from Neil, I didn't suspect anything. But now we know a lot more about that time. And there was a forum member who was near spastic in his commitment to not reveal anything Neil. Poor fellow, I often wanted to PM him with comfort but never did. When it was announced on Friday Jan. 10, 2020 that Neil passed away, I was in my kitchen getting ready to shake up cocktails and I was quite mildly shocked. That precise moment which answered the silence, ended any speculation whatsoever, was my closure. It was a surprise and it hurt but over the next few days I accepted the absolute end of Rush. 

 

Because Alex and Geddy continue to accomplish new projects and are willing to give so many interviews, so many, I feel we are all in the same sphere together, in one way or another. To me, "they" are not done. And so I can accept that the band is finished but I love that new shares and more projects continue to keep the "band" alive. 

 

May I offer, that you have nothing to forgive yourself for. You saw them live. You are still part of one group that loves the band. I only saw them twice. Am I less of a fan than those who paid for a hundred shows? (OK, yeah, I am) but I don't feel any less of a fan. And neither should you! I am sure many of us spent years listening and other years not listening. But always, they were there. I think you should think of them as still there.

 

Cheers, and let's celebrate what continues.

  

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I think it was the Ged audio book that did it for me RD.

 

It was so well done - and I found myself deeply reflective after I finished - thinking of the band and the tremendous positive influence it had on my young, loner-kid life.

 

I had an opportunity to see Geddy with Jack Black in Los Angeles, but I was weirdly ok about missing it. I didn’t feel the need to go, and felt like it was covered so well in Geddy’s reading of his tome.

 

And I know I’m one of them, but I don’t think I was ready to hang with a bunch of teary eyed, aging white dudes. God bless each and every one of them.

 

Geddy’s book offered perfect closure, and was  much better than what a farewell tour would’ve attempted to do.

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On 3/30/2024 at 8:36 PM, Jeffrey said:

There is a difference between closure of Rush as a touring/material creating entity and my journey/love of the material that they created for over 40 years.  The former may have occurred but the latter will live on indefinitely for me. 

It's an embarrassment of riches that I continue to celebrate. Nothing has changed for me there.

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On 3/28/2024 at 11:37 PM, Timbale said:

 As for Neil...I think he played very competently, as always...but there had been a fire missing for quite a few tours, I think. 

A friend of mine is a professional percussionist, and he said that to me in 2014. 

He felt the Prof had been coasting for a while. 

I dunno. If the extraordinary drum solo from Live in Frankfurt is Neil just "mailing it in", then what the hell would a full effort look like?

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33 minutes ago, Weatherman said:

A friend of mine is a professional percussionist, and he said that to me in 2014. 

He felt the Prof had been coasting for a while. 

I dunno. If the extraordinary drum solo from Live in Frankfurt is Neil just "mailing it in", then what the hell would a full effort look like?

Obviously Neil  was an extraordinary drummer, no question.  I actually think that Neil's playing from a purely technical standpoint got better as he went on.  Like, the last tour solo he played the waltz thing with his feet (I can't remember if that was R40 or not...) he was able to do pretty much anything over it with his hands...really impressive independence.  From a musical standpoint, however,  and this is purely subjective, I find it super boring and would exponentially rather listen to the ESL drum solo over any of the 2000 - 2010 solos...

 

I think watching footage from R40 (and I did see the show live, too) and then footage from the GUP tour or the ESL video...he just has an intention behind his playing that feels different.    Again, it's personal taste and opinion, but that thing he said about every show being the measure of one's ability and esteem (or something like that), I feel that when I watch Xanadu on ESL.  I don't feel it on R40.  And of course, he doesn't have to prove himself at that point...and some song from 1977 doesn't challenge him in the way working out some technique thing in his solo does.  But then it opens up the larger question of why play old material that doesn't inspire you any more (if that was indeed the case), and the answers are complex and multifaceted, and to a large extent involve the fact that your job is being an entertainer.  Rush always expressed how the did not compromise when it came to what they chose to play or not play, but I just got the feeling his heart wasn't in it so much on that last tour.   

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3 hours ago, Timbale said:

Obviously Neil  was an extraordinary drummer, no question.  I actually think that Neil's playing from a purely technical standpoint got better as he went on.  Like, the last tour solo he played the waltz thing with his feet (I can't remember if that was R40 or not...) he was able to do pretty much anything over it with his hands...really impressive independence.  From a musical standpoint, however,  and this is purely subjective, I find it super boring and would exponentially rather listen to the ESL drum solo over any of the 2000 - 2010 solos...

 

I think watching footage from R40 (and I did see the show live, too) and then footage from the GUP tour or the ESL video...he just has an intention behind his playing that feels different.    Again, it's personal taste and opinion, but that thing he said about every show being the measure of one's ability and esteem (or something like that), I feel that when I watch Xanadu on ESL.  I don't feel it on R40.  And of course, he doesn't have to prove himself at that point...and some song from 1977 doesn't challenge him in the way working out some technique thing in his solo does.  But then it opens up the larger question of why play old material that doesn't inspire you any more (if that was indeed the case), and the answers are complex and multifaceted, and to a large extent involve the fact that your job is being an entertainer.  Rush always expressed how the did not compromise when it came to what they chose to play or not play, but I just got the feeling his heart wasn't in it so much on that last tour.   

That's pretty much why I liked the first set of R40 a lot more than the second set. Aside from a few songs the second set kind of bored me.

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Regarding Neil and his late career drumming, I don't think he ever mailed it in.  I do think that as he aged what was once youthfully passionate drumming was replaced by an overly cerebral approach.  In everything I've read from Neil or seen in interviews or drum videos, he was very proud of that evolution. 

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I saw the second (original date) R40 Toronto show and only later learned that was the better of the two - technical issues made the first concert very challenging. Details that probably lots of people didn't notice, but hearing it from Neil's perspective and reading his books with lots of details about concert issues and personal afflictions, pretty much every tour had its ups and downs. "One tour, it was my teeth!" During part of R40 his feet were killing him. So what was a good performance and what was a bad performance? From my side of the fence, playing twenty, thirty, forty dates on a tour, and the guys being human beings, I am always hesitant to be even the least bit critical. And for that matter, it should not go without saying that so often he was riding a few hundred miles between shows and that in itself had an impact on things. So to say a musical performance was less than ideal on a day when the riding was maybe better than ideal? I think you have to look at both when considering how Neil was performing and it's completely acceptable, to me.

 

To me, they played amazingly, right to the end. Some adjustments and evolution over time (Geddy singing a big lower on some verses of some songs) but in the end (:biggrin:Rush had such a huge choice for set lists. Did they all sound the same as the original - and I think this is what some people might think of "as good" and I don't  - no, they didn't. Sometimes is it was just different. To wonder if they lost the "sauce" as Jack Black put it, I would say no. Not ever. Because they continued to be true to the songs. To us. And to spend more money and include more musicians and rehearse it all so thoroughly right up to the end, that's not "ageing", that's investing. That's being better at something.

 

I have seen and heard so many bands that go "unplugged" or do re-makes to suit their older selves and continue touring, or put out more best-of albums with re-dos and recycled music. These guys were committed to excellence right to the end and I think it sounds and shows exactly that. Nothing taken for granted? Nothing assumed as being acceptable simply by playing a song live - it had to be rehearsed and the backdrops had to be stunning. And they didn't re-visit having bands open the show. Would have been easier to play shorter set lists but not these guys. Very expensive, a huge group of people making it happen. Right to the end. So to decide (or accept) between them that it was over, it was probably at the best possible time. Not too old, not too young, just so. I was relieved to read that Geddy came to accept Neil's wishes about retirement.

 

When I see Alex and Geddy play on R40, they are frickin' amazing. Same with Neil. And to state the obvious, it's after four decades together. I don't think they should have stopped touring sooner. And I am glad they stopped touring when they did. It feels like a sweet spot. And they are so open to discussing details and sharing intimate moments of almost every aspect of the band. Maybe I never needed "closure" because I keep getting more stuff from them.

 

ytserush felt kind of bored with the second set of R40. To me it was very interesting and a bit edge-of-your-seat, because those earlier songs were brutal for Geddy to sing. But he wanted to honour those tracks and whether you love his voice or not, he made a decision to sing them. Watch the guys on stage. Neil or Alex aren't seen to be wincing or glancing about when Geddy hits the ceiling, it's a group project and they kept to their parts right to the end. To an outsider, one would wonder what the heck is he doing. To us, he was being the singer of the same band and if that is how they were written, that is how he is going to sing them. Truly wonderful. 

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On 4/13/2024 at 5:56 PM, Weatherman said:

A friend of mine is a professional percussionist, and he said that to me in 2014. 

He felt the Prof had been coasting for a while. 

I dunno. If the extraordinary drum solo from Live in Frankfurt is Neil just "mailing it in", then what the hell would a full effort look like?

Please tell your friend that the notion of Neil "coasting" is an oxymoron.

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