I’ve been holding this news for a couple of weeks now, for a few reasons. First, I wanted to surprise fellow Rush fan Dayton Ward with this news when I saw him last weekend at Shore Leave in Hunt Valley, Md. Second, I wanted to be sure it was okay to post these images before I made them semi-public.
Now let me tell you about the best day ever.
On Sunday, July 8, 2007, I met up with my friends Randy Giudice and Alex Terapane, and Randy’s brother Chris. We had a cool afternoon eating cheese steaks and cheese-fries, then we went to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. There we took part in the pre-show “Meet & Greet” with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush:
From left: David Mack (me), Alex Lifeson, Randy Giudice, Geddy Lee, Chris Giudice, and Alex Terapane.
I was able to give Alex and Geddy copies of my novel Wolverine: Road of Bones, which includes characters named in their honor. And although Rush percussionist extraordinaire Neil Peart does not attend Meet & Greet sessions or meet strangers, they had one of their “Praetorians” bring to Neil my Star Trek novels A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal, which feature the character Jim Peart, named in his honor.
After the Meet & Greet, we went to our seats: second row, dead center. Absolutely perfect seats. The set list was awesome, a great mix of classic tunes they haven’t played in years and a lot of songs off of the new (and mind-blowingly great) album “Snakes & Arrows”.
During the encore, the band tosses special “you can’t just buy these” T-shirts from the stage. A few years ago, on the Vapor Trails tour, I caught one that Alex had pitched into my hand like a fastball. On this occasion, he all but lobbed a shirt right to me in the second row. Frickin’ amazing! (I came home with a beaming grin and said to my wife, “I caught a shirt!”)
Wait, it gets better.
After the show, we got to hang around for a backstage visit. While we waited for the band to be ready to see us, we watched the roadies break down the stage gear while Praetorians brought us tasty, ice-cold beers. Then we were led backstage to our hang-out with Geddy and Alex. (Neil, being Neil, was already a dozen miles away on his motorcycle, a ghost rider in the night.)
We spent an hour hanging out with Alex and Geddy. I chatted with Geddy about wine, his travels in Europe, and restaurants. Talked with Alex about comic books, his work, that night’s set.
Basically, this was an experience I have imagined and dreamed of since my first time at a Rush concert, on the Signals tour in 1982. After 25 years it came true…and it didn’t cost me a thing, because the whole evening was a gift from Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns). He bought the tickets, arranged the backstage passes, everything, for his friend Randy, and I got to tag along. Bryan is a god among men, and I can only hope that one day I have the means and the opportunity to repay this once-in-a-lifetime beau geste in kind.
Now if only there was a way that I could meet Neil… Well, it’s good to have something left to shoot for. 🙂
(Post edited to steal the starman icon from Dayton.)