Neil Peart

Mr. Rush Meets Rush: Roadie for a Day
by Mr. Rush

Originally posted at The Rush Forum; reposted with permission by Mr. Rush

For those of you who did not see my earlier post I had a chance to spend the entire day with Rushís crew members and then eventually the boys themselves. My friend is a stage union member for DC and he asked me this past Wednesday if I wanted to help with the in-rigging and out-rigging. I was like are you crazy?..........so this is a report of how my day went.

The Rush stage - preshow by Mr. RushThe day started out at 7:30 a.m., when I arrived the stage was completely empty and they were running lasers up to the roof for the placement of the trusses. I went to the loading dock and took pics of all the full trucks (7 of them). I got a crash course on stage placement which I already knew pretty well. Then it was a matter of rolling lotís of cases to the different stage areas. Just about everything was in hard cases except for the large lighting trusses. After rolling everything out I went to see Bucky who is Alexís tech and helped him run some cables and other little jobs like that. I got to watch him re-string some of the guitars and tune them. After that I asked him if I could take some pics and he said no problem so I took pics of Alexís guitar racks.

Geddy's keyboard by Mr. RushThen it was off to stage left to help out with Geddyís stuff. When I got there I helped put some mic stands together and take the covers off the cases that contained the rotisserie chickens. I then asked if I could take pics and he said no problem, so I took pics of Geddyís keyboards and bass rack.

I then walked over to Gump (Neilís tech) and asked him if he needed any help and he said sure. I got to help with the un-packing and placement of the drum carousel and then helped him polish the stands and panels for the carousel base. I asked him if he could take a pic of me next to the drums and he said sure once he finished putting them together. I went to lunch and returned afterwards to get the pic taken next to the drum kit. After that he turned to me and said thank you very much and handed me drum sticks from the previous nightís show (Va Beach).

After that I really wanted a chance to meet the guys so I spoke to Karen (production manager?) and told her how much I loved the band and that tonightís performance was number 39 for me blah blah blah and she said ya ya ya I know youíre their
Neil's kit by Mr. Rushbiggest fan and I said no Iím not saying that I just would like the opportunity to say thank you, shake their hands and get a picture with them. She said that meet and greet was already full but she said she would do what she could. She asked me where I was going to be and I said sitting at the end of the dock.

At this point everything was set up and they were doing there final checks on everything. I sat on a stool at the end of the dock. Everyone else (stage hands) had been dismissed but I was allowed to stay and just sit there. I spoke to many crew members and had a really good time. They are all a great bunch of guys. Karen passed me at least six or seven times during my two hours of hanging out. She did not acknowledge me or even make eye contact. It became 3:30 really quickly and then the head of the Nissan stage area said that the band members were going to start arriving and that it was time for me to vacate the area. I told him that my friend was arriving at 4:00 and if I could just wait 30 more minutes to see if Karen came through for me. He said it was doubtful that I could get meet and greet but he allowed me to stay 30 min but I had to leave the dock and stage areas and wait by the crew trailer in the parking lot. So I went over to the trailer and sat there on a golf cart. The next thing that happened was the arrival of Neil on his BMW bike. He was riding with someone else (canít remember his name) and he stopped less that 20 ft from me. Talk about wanting to whip out the camera right then and there. I refrained because I know Neil is a very private person and I didnít want to piss him off. It was really hard not to pull the camera out and take that picture. I sat there for 10 minutes hoping he would say something to me and then I could engage him with pleasantries and then take a picture but he didnít. ? He then left the bikes and went into the tour bus. I popped out of my chair and took to photos of the bikes (I at least got those) after that the head of Nissan said it was time for to vacate the back lot and meet my friend in the parking lot. I said ok and I would be on my way. Just at that moment Karen came over to me and handed me a meet and greet pass. WOW! Everything just seemed to be going my way. I thanked her and left the back lot for the the main parking areas. I had to report back at 10:30 for the out rig.

Mr. Rush with RushMy friend and I tailgated for an hour and then I went in to the meet and greet area and was herded like cattle (thereís no other way to explain it) We were waiting in the meet and greet area and then all of a sudden Alex and Geddy walk in to many happy and cheering fans. I was third in line and when it was my chance I got to shake their hands and thank them and even though it was like a cattle drive they were both very pleasant and genuine. I got a picture with them and I just sort of put my arms on their shoulders like they were my long time friends. Just like that two pics and I was done and escorted out. Was it fast, yes it was but very much worth it!

I then went out to my seat and enjoyed a GREAT show! The new material is sooooo good live! I loved all of the new stuff they played, and Entre Nous was a real treat! I went backstage at 10:30 and waited for the show to end. After the show as over it was really fast pace getting everything back into the trucks. I was given another drum stick from Gump and a guitar pick from Bucky. I then had to go back into the meet and greet area to retrieve 2 cases I had put there earlier. Alex was there with two other people and I got to shake his hand again and say great show. I did not have my camera this time it was in the car because my friend said there would be no more photo ops. Too bad!

I finished at 2:00 a.m. and I have to say it was one of the most awesome days of my life (besides my wedding day and kids birthdays). I have told this story to many of my friends and they were all in agreement that I totally deserved it after all these years. What an awesome day!

I will post all of my pics when I get some time over the next few days.
Go to the Snakes and Arrows Gallery page for all of Mr. Rush's pictures.

Thanks to Mr. Rush for permission to repost his story and pictures.