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Second concert I ever went to in my life was Rush, March 6, 1986 in Toronto -- Power Windows tour. My dad took me. I can still remember how he looked during that show. Happiest I ever remember him from my childhood.
I saw Rush many, many times. Several times I sat behind the stage in the Pittsburgh Civic Arena just to marvel at Neil. Once during his drum solo my friends and I (who were both drummers) were going absolutely nuts. So much so that Neil apparently heard us. He paused during his solo and turned and stood facing us with his arms outstretched as if to say “Well, what do you think of that?”. Needless to say we went crazy and he had a good laugh. One of my most cherished memories.
It was because of him, Mike Portnoy, Gavin Harrison and Danny Carey that I became some sort of a 'closeted' drummer, just never had the chance to buy a drum kit either because no space and/or picky neighbors. His passing really hits me as he showed me (along the other guys, coincidentally influenced by him) how the drums could be so much more than a 'beat machine' and really soar to new heights composition-wise.
Dang, this is tough. Saw every tour since my first Rush show in 1999. Never even heard the guy make a mistake, and I’m admittedly quite judgey when I’m at shows. I almost didn’t make it to the R40, and now so glad I did. Such a major loss for the community and industry.