Friday, January 10, 2020

Neil At the Shrine

Obviously I hadn't planned to start off the new decade until I moved into a new space in a few days -- and certainly not with tears in my eyes -- but I'm afraid events have dictated otherwise.
Today it was announced that on Tuesday last the world lost one of its most unparalleled instrumental virtuosos, as well as one of the most imitated and revered players of our lifetimes on any instrument.
Only 67, the statement said he had been battling brain cancer for three years before he passed away.
As influential as any musician -- and possibly the singlemost influential Rock drummer of all time -- there are no words to express the scope of the void his going leaves in our musical world.
And this, to say nothing of the words he rendered into being, that he and his bandmates might animate them into multiple dimensions.
There are but a handful of Prog Rock bands in the RnR Hall of Fame, and his is one of them. This, mostly because the petty anti-Prog bias of the Boomer overlords can't trump the decades of sincere affection the world has built up for Rush.
And I say "his" band not to delegitimize the other two guys, but because without his 1974 addition to their ranks behind the kit and the lyrics, I'm not sure Rush would have made a second album. 
Or if they had, it might have sunk like a stone, but for the infusion of unorthodox energy he brought, and which blossomed as the Seventies gave way to the Eighties into what it became.
I think any drummer would tell you -- heck, I'm a drummer and I am telling you -- that there is simply no escaping the monument of percussion discussion constructed for the ages by the galactic-class talent that was Neil Peart.
Someone said he is the most air-drummed-to player in human history and if you've ever been to a Rush concert -- I've been to several -- you could have just looked around you for verification.
The world, as we see, has changed, and "playing an instrument" at this type of supreme, unprecedented level that sends everyone else off to the woodshed to raise themselves to where you just put the bar isn't as much a part of the modern musical era as it was back when guys like Neil Peart were coming up.
I think that leaves the world a lesser place, adherent as I am to the T shirt slogan that reads "Sure I'm old. But your music still sucks."
When I was a kid, there was no music like Rush and there will surely never be a drummer as bonecrushingly innovative as this man. The idea that he is gone leaves me a certain shade of speechless and in stunned shock for sure.
What else is there to say but thank you? I know in life Neil was reticent and painfully shy socially, and would avoid the limelight as much as possible, but today is a day to appreciate, at the center of our memory's attention, what the gifts of his life meant to our world.
Rush
Capital Centre
Largo, Maryland USA
9.27.1984

01 The Spirit of Radio
02 Subdivisions
03 The Body Electric
04 The Enemy Within
05 The Weapon
06 Witch Hunt
07 New World Man
08 Between the Wheels
09 Red Barchetta
10 Distant Early Warning
11 Red Sector A
12 Closer to the Heart
13 Kid Gloves
14 YYZ
15 2112 Overture: The Temples of Syrinx
16 Tom Sawyer

Total time: 1:19:16

Geddy Lee - bass,, keyboards & vocals
Alex Lifeson - guitar & vocals
Neil Peart - drums & percussion

Digital Reproductions remaster of the "Cool Under Fire" bootleg CD on the Tachika label
retracked by EN, Jan. 2020
489 MB FLAC here
There's a nicely representative show from the 1984 Grace Under Pressure tour, to help you all grieve properly for a tremendous loss. I fixed the track markers, which were all a half-second late. It looks from the spectral like it came from an FM broadcast.
So this is farewell, Neil, but never goodbye. Thank you so inarticulably much for everything.
*puts on Moving Pictures at volume 11*
--J.
9.12.1952 - 1.7.2020
exit the warrior