Read Late Rush drummer Neil Peart’s Thoughts On West Michigan
The Rush drummer, who passed away last Friday, kept a meticulous diary during the 'Moving Pictures' tour in 1982, and he had some thoughts on West Michigan.
These journal entries from the 'Moving Pictures' tour were originally published in the band's fan newsletter as an ongoing article called, 'For Whom The Bus Rolls', they were later republished to the Rush fan site, 2112.net:
Tuesday, February 17. Kalamazoo.
3:00 A.M. The bus has stopped moving, and as usual, I sense arrival and wake up. Having slept since we crossed the border, I am disoriented at first. Peering out the window of my bunk into a foggy oblivion, I can only see the familiar green neon of the "Holiday Inn" sign. Sigh!..
Later that day
"Wings Stadium" is conveniently next-door to our hotel, a typical medium-sized hockey arena, with typical medium-sized hockey arena acoustics. This is perfectly suitable for our purposes, as most of our shows will be in such places. It is interesting that during this century the old vaudeville type of theatres, to the modem "War Memorial-Civic-Convention-Stadium-Centre-Arena". I guess it is the democratic preference, but you wouldn't think it would be so difficult to build on that sounded good too! But in common with our audiences: "We pays our money, and we takes our choice."
Then he talks about the local radio station bringing them to town...
Through the everlasting fog outside my window, the illuminated "Wings Stadium" sign informs me that a local FM station "brings" Rush and Max Webster on February 20 at 8:00 p.m.. Now, really! What this really means is that in return for the "prestige" of "presenting" a concert, the station has exchanged certain promotional favors! (Now don't get all cynical already, the tour's just beginning!)
Wednesday, February 18. Kalamazoo.
O Father, I have sinned! It seems I have overslept the magical hour of 11:30, and can no longer be served anything resembling breakfast. Sigh.
He then asked for a grilled cheese and was told no because, "Then we'd have to do it for everybody."
Despite a momentarily humorous vision of 200 guests simultaneously demanding their contraband grilled cheeses, I vent my frustration at "rules" in the customary way, by smashing the offending receiver into the guilty phone. In independent tests conducted all over the western world, this reporter has found the modern telephone to be virtually indestructible.
Friday, February 20. Kalamazoo.
A satisfying pile of answered mail has been growing on my desk, much of it in ultra-elegant "Holiday Inn Kalamazoo" envelopes. I can never get any mail answered at home, or when we're in the studio, but some afternoons on the road are perfect for it. I also kind that it's the only way I can comfortably communicate with a fan, and it feels good to send off a letter knowing it will bring happiness to the recipient.
And then, it was show time:
At 7:00 the doors are opened, and a complete change comes over the building. Music plays on the P.S.; the air is charged with the energy and anticipation of some five or six thousand people. It's more than a crowd, more than a concert; it's a ritual and a celebration. The electricity in the atmosphere is almost tangible.
Well, almost, they had to wait for the opener to play, of course. But then...
The lights are down, the intro tape starts, and there is an incredible roar from the audience. Larry and Dave pull the cloth back, as Alex and Geddy come running on, plugging in their guitars as they move over to center stage, standing in front of me to count in the beginning of "2112". We share a "here goes!" look, 2-3-4- and we're away!
And just like that, they were off to their next destination:
When everybody else is aboard, we set off for Dubuque, Iowa, a distance of about 300 miles; or six hours.
His entire account of his time is Kalamazoo is really fun to read. You can check it out here.