My scars were particularly sensitive to atmospheric pressure under the half-dome of the Giant Center the evening of April 8, 2011. Outside: a limited grey ceiling leaked rain from every crevice. Within: a 21-year-old college kid stood on tender, mechanized joints, too proud to sit down during a Rush show.
My left knee was just replaced. The right: realigned, but this was the god damn Time Machine Tour. Moving Pictures. Moving fucking Pictures! I wasn’t about to lose it.
Against my better nature, I committed to standing, and I committed to doing it without the aid of narcotics. A “get out of jail free” card prescribed to me for purposes like this. It was a slippery slope I had slid down too often with too dark results. Tonight, though, the experience was natural, human. No drug-induced chemicals. Just self-made endorphins.
Like most Rush heads, I had heard everything from Moving Pictures (except Camera Eye and Vital Signs) live already. The real draw, for me, was the promise of B-siders. B-siders I tried to keep under lock and key until the concert arrived. I wanted to be blindsided by each consecutive tune, and I didn’t want to miss the brilliance of a song while in anticipation of another.
I was already lamenting the decision to stand when the lights dimmed, a distant early warning signalling “go time.” Alex ripped into Permanent Waves’ flagship anthem, Spirit of Radio. I couldn’t sit if my legs were made of jello.
Without pausing to catch their breath or let the audience catch ours, Rush then opened a riff in the space-time continuum, traveling seven years into the future from 1980 to 1987. When I heard the opening notes, everything ceased.
Time Stood Still.
Holy shitballs. Ho. Lee. Shit. Balls.
Instant goosebumps. Swiftly followed by uncoordinated arm flailing. Finishing with the most potent release of dopamine I had ever experienced.
For the next five minutes and nine seconds, the wounds I could never get unwound were suddenly unwinding. The defenses were down. The past going too fast came to a halt, and a kid with a degenerative disease would now find permanent respite whenever this song played.
Thanks, Neil. Take a load off, you earned it.