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Nearly 40 Years Ago, Rush Played Their First American Show Just North of Lansing

Courtesy of Getty Images

I was 14 days out of the womb when Rush played their FIRST EVER AMERICAN show at the North Side Drive-In located in Dewitt. Click here to see the history.┬áSo, I don’t remember it very well.

The picture above is from 1980 and that is Neal Peart behind the drum kit with the long hair. Alex Lifeson on the left with the double guitar and Geddy Lee, as he will forever look in my mind, on the right with the double bass. Something you rarely see anymore. Geddy’s real name is Gary but his mother had such a heavy Polish accent, it sounded like Geddy.

So, a fun fact about that show is that was one of the only times Rush played a show in America without Neil Peart as the drummer. Neil replaced John Rutsey as drummer just 2 months later. Rutsey left because musical differences and diabetes related health issues. In 2008, he died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack related to diabetes.

It’s impossible for me to imagine Rush without Neil Peart. How cool would that have been to see their first American show right here in Mid-Michigan? Then to see a show with John Rutsey as a drummer? Only a handful of people in America can say that.

I never liked Rush before I started working here. Geddy is like good scotch… it takes about 10 years to acquire the taste. Now, they are my favorite band we play, this side of the Heartbreakers. The best thing about Rush is THEY ARE AWESOME LIVE and still making kick ass music! Plus, Neil Peart is a poet and written some amazing songs. The musicianship is second to none. Peart is widely considered one of the best drummers who have ever lived. His drum solo’s should be studied, practiced and appreciated but his songwriting is the most underrated in Classic Rock. If you got to see that show in Dewitt, I am very jealous. I got to see them rock for 3 straight hours on the Time Machine Tour and it was the best Progressive/Classic Rock show I have ever been to.

One of the best LIVE albums ever is Rush in Rio. The way the crowd hums along to YYZ is hypnotic.

My favorite Rush song is Resist from the Test For Echo album. My favorite version is from Rush In Rio.

How about a Neil Peart drum solo?

Rush was featured in a episode of the raunchy Canadian show Trailer Park Boys. WARNING ADULT LANGUAGE AND NOT FOR CHILDREN
You can see the entire episode by clicking here.

Get up with Deb and Joey weekdays from 6-10am

Send Joey an email: joey.pants@townsquaremedia.com

 

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