I’m stunned at the news that Neil Peart died. He was the drummer and lyricist of my favorite band, Rush. Their music got me through rough days and made good days better. I was privileged enough to see them live dozens of times. I saw their very last show in 2015, and they were as great and powerful as ever.
Peart is widely considered by drummers, critics, and music lovers to be one of the top-three greatest rock drummers of all time. He was a monster and a technician and an artist.
I could go on about Peart and Rush for the rest of my life and I probably will.
One of my favorite Peart lyrics is “Bravado.” When I was in my early twenties, suffering undiagnosed depression, working a job I hated, feeling super emo, writing lots of short stories and not able to sell any of them, this song helped me keep going.
I remember the “Roll the Bones” tour at the Costa Mesa Amphitheater. Or maybe it was Irvine Meadows. This must have been 1992. At the end of “Bravado” they flooded the stage with a constellation of small spotlights, and then the spotlights spread out over the crowd. It was a visual reflection of the band generating creativity on the stage and then handing it over to the audience. Rush gave me a lot of head-banging, jaw-dropping moments, but that thing with the spotlights? Moves me to this day.