The first rock and roll concert I attended was in 1972, when The Looking Glass, with the hit song, “Brandy,” performed at Fort Myers Middle School. Since then, I have attended hundreds of rock concerts. (There was a period in April, 2018, when David and I saw 20 bands over an 11 day period; we are committed to rock and roll music!). I have seen many, many great shows, from The Rolling Stones, on numerous occasions, to Johnny Cash, to many of today’s biggest rock stars, such as Foo Fighters. Since I met David, he has been a huge fan of the Canadian power trio known as RUSH. When I met David, and for years afterwards, I was not a RUSH fan. However, due to a special set of circumstances beyond the scope of this post, David and I met Alex Lifeson, RUSH’s lead guitarist, leading us to be invited backstage to spend time with him before and after several concerts. (In addition, I have been playing the bass guitar since 2001; Geddy Lee, RUSH’s bass player, is one of the undisputed best bass players in the world, not according to me, but according to the world.) In addition to getting to spend time with Alex backstage, David and I have been with him on other occasions and, in addition, he has been very generous in giving us tickets to RUSH concerts. Lucky us! So, after many years of not being a RUSH fan, I became a huge fan of Alex’s, as well as the entire band. I went from grudgingly attending RUSH shows with David to excitedly counting down the days until upcoming shows. People can, and do, change! Although I have had some pretty cool concert experiences, there is nothing that can top the RUSH show several years ago in West Palm Beach when Alex Lifeson, knowing where we were seated in the large venue, stopped playing in the middle of a song, waved at me and said, “Hi, Melissa!”. I was astounded, to say the least! So, if I say RUSH is one of my favorite bands, now you will know why!
I guess you could say that, for Melissa, RUSH was an acquired taste. We probably all have them, but I liked them from when I first heard The Spirit of the Radio. Melissa reports that I’m a huge fan, but as she has now come to understand, fan appreciation for RUSH is on a sliding scale, with many fans knowing every little detail of every song or album. And, with our backstage experiences, we’ve met people from all over the world who follow the tours in multiple cities. I suppose many bands have such fans, but I’m not sure who they are. Another interesting detail, which we’ve discussed with Alex, is the increase of female fans in the last 15 years or so. RUSH’s fans were traditionally nerdy guys – but that has changed and Alex says, in part, because of the success of the movie, I Love You, Man, in which the band is prominently featured. Whatever the reason, that is the time frame during which Melissa became an Alex, then a RUSH, fan. Finally! As a photographer, I have photographed many famous people, including Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, and Charlton Heston. But, meeting Alex was on a different level and the experience has been very enlightening. The touring future of RUSH is uncertain, but you can be certain that whenever they tour again, we’ll be there! Rock On!