The RUSH fan is unlike any other music fan I’ve ever encountered. It’s almost like they live in a musical vacuum. They love this band and there is no other band that compares. Most arena shows I go to fans will wear a t-shirt that relates to the band they’re going to see. You’re going to see Mumford & Sons, you might wear a Bob Dylan shirt. You go to a Springsteen show you might wear an Elvis Presley shirt. You go see Muse you might wear a RUSH shirt. You get the idea. When you go to a RUSH show, you wear a RUSH t-shirt. No exceptions. You can also play RUSH music at your tailgate party before the show. A taboo in my music fandom world.
It’s like supporting your favorite sports team. You might admire the way the San Francisco Giants play baseball and win World Series championships but you would never under any circumstances wear a Giants shirt at Dodger Stadium. I feel like that’s the way RUSH fans feel. There might be other bands out there making good music but you support your band by wearing their shirts.
And after attending their final concert this weekend, I totally get it. There is no other band out there today playing intensely complex music, that still has creative melodic touches and still seems to be having fun doing it. RUSH shows are a celebration. We may be playing music that needs intense concentration but let’s have fun doing it.
The R40 show celebrated the career of the band by slowly going back to the beginning from their latest album in 2014 to their first in 1974. It is a very brave decision for a band with this much history to play 5 (relatively) new songs to start off the show. I don’t think in the past ten years Springsteen, U2, Aerosmith or The Rolling Stones would ever consider starting off their show with this much new material without sprinkling in some loved classic songs. RUSH fans don’t care. If it’s RUSH music, they want to hear it. They know the classics are coming. They’re not going to go on beer runs when a lesser known song is played. That’s for intermission. Like their favorite sports team, they believe in their boys and that they will take them to new levels of thrills. I truly have to admire that trait.