Rush’s First American Performance Happened in Lansing, Michigan
Our great state of Michigan boasts a lot of music history, and I’m not talking just about the Motown era. A lot of Rock and Roll history has also been made in Michigan from several successful bands that went on to be National and even worldwide success stories. We boast a lot of great Classic Rock artists hailing from our state, like Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder, Glenn Frey and so many more. And we’ve had our share of historical performance in our state as well.
Many may not remember an event that happened with a Canadian band on the lineup for the first-ever live performance in America, right here in Lansing back on May 18, 1974. It was an event that also created political havoc and officials created new legislation prohibiting events like this due to drug overdoses.
This event happened at Lansing’s Northside Theater and was advertised as a 12 hour festival with headliner Dr. John, plus Liverpool, Skyhook, Cosmic Beam Experience, Max Bone, The British Are Here, The New York Dolls and I See The Light Show. This show would also be the first American live performance from Rush. Northside Concerts promised a Woodstock-like event, and they certainly got it, at least weather-wise. With all the rain the crowd dispersed, some in ambulances due to drug overdoses.
This was Rush’s original lineup before Neil Peart, they had not received radio play yet and had not garnered any American interest, even though they had been together for years this was their first venture south of the border. But that all soon changed and Rush became one of the premier Canadian Rock bands of all time.
It’s always interesting to look back and see the music history that has been made right here in the state of Michigan. It wasn’t a great event for Rush to debut in, but it was still a historical event with a band whose name became a household word in the lives of rock and roll fans. Rush were a North American pioneer in hard rock.