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Rush tour stories/experiences
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H3WMW



Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 594
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:37 am    Post subject: Rush tour stories/experiences Reply with quote

How many times have you seen Rush live? How was the experience for you? Do you think you could write about your experiences as if they happened yesterday?

Well here's your chance to recall the greatest times of your life.

Here's my story that I wrote shortly after the UK leg of the R30 tour back in September 2004. It's in 4 parts as it's so long.

ENJOY!!!!
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H3WMW



Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 594
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PART ONE


It started at 6am on Tuesday 8th September 2004.

I didn't get much sleep as I was really excited about seeing Rush again in 12 years and also meeting all you great guys on the tour. I left my flat at around 8am with Kelley in floods of tears as she wasn't going to see me in a week. AWWWWW. However I did say to her that I would phone every day to let her know how I was getting on.

Went round to my parents' house to drop off my car and for my dad to drive me to Edinburgh Airport. I got there just after 9am to which I was stopped at the main door by an American Express representative wanting me to take one of their credit cards. I said I wasn't interested but got roped into it anyway. After about 15 minutes of listening to her waffling I then made way to the baggage area where I was to meet up with Michael Kerr (Nephronic) and Peter Graham (lavillapg). When I got to the meeting area I phoned Neph to let him know I'd arrived to which he said "I'm here too". He directed me in the direction he was sitting in and I was only a few feet away from him.

At this point I asked if he'd seen or heard from Peter but he hadn't so I phoned Peter and asked where he was. He said that he was near the entrance. I asked him to head towards the baggage section at the far end of the airport to which he said he would do. After about 10 minutes Peter phones me to say he was at the baggage section so we told him to look for certain shops like McDonalds or the coffee shop. He said he couldn't see them. I asked what he was wearing but couldn't see anyone with his description. Neph said if he were to go back outside to the main entrance that he would meet him there. He agreed so off Neph went to search for Peter.

10 minutes pass and Neph comes back on his own. He said he couldn't find him so I got back on the phone to Peter and asked if he could see Neph when he was outside to which No was the answer.

Neph said "Ask him what airport he's at?" to which I thought "are you serious??" but nonetheless I asked him. Peter said "I'm at Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire". I couldn't believe he just said that. Shocked Shocked Shocked You should have seen the look of disbelief on Neph's face.

Neph then spoke to Peter and told him that we were in Edinburgh which was around 40 miles away from Prestwick. Peter then proceeded to get a taxi from Prestwick to Edinburgh to meet us but by then we were in the departure lounge. Our flight was going to be delayed by an hour so hopefully that would have given Peter time to get to Edinburgh.

When he eventually made it to Edinburgh he was told that he couldn't board our flight as the gate was closed. He was also told that all other flights (in time) were fully booked. By this time Neph and I were on the plane waiting for take off.

Meanwhile Peter then got a bus from Edinburgh to Glasgow Airport to see if he could get a flight from there but to no avail. (He missed the first show altogether but managed to get a flight down the next day.)

When Neph and I were on the plane we met another guy who was a Rush fan sitting directly in front of us. I can't remember his name at present but came from Stirling. He was a really nice chap. When we eventually arrived at London Heathrow Airport, all 3 of us headed towards the tube station at around 3pm. It took us around an hour to get to Wembley Park station but luckily our hotel (Premier Lodge) was only a stone's throw away.

The guy from Stirling then made his way to his own hotel down the road from the station a bit and on arriving at our hotel we met Alex Jeffrey (Alexj) who was going to be my room-mate for the 2 nights at Wembley. Again what a really nice chap he is. We chatted for ages in the hotel room while Neph was having a shower to freshen up. When Neph was ready, he, Alex and I all headed for the Green Man pub in Wembleyhill Road.

This was where the excitement really started.

There was lots of Rush fans situated in the beer garden. Some faces I recognised (through the TNMS gallery). I was introduced to lots of people (you know who you are) who were all amazing people. I went into the pub to meet Jean-Paul (Japes) who had my stalker tour tickets. I was glad to catch up with Woody as he is a really good mate and Andy Field (Analog) again as it was a year since I last saw him. I had to tell everyone in my company about Peter's story and that he wasn't going to make it. There were a few laughs and a few shocked faces when I told the story. That was the most talked about subject for the rest of the day as the news spread through camp Rush at the Green Man. Sweltering day, great beer, great company and then it was time (after an hour since I arrived) to head down to Wembley arena for the first of five Rush gigs for me.

When we arrived outside the arena I was gobsmacked to see sooooo many Rush fans in one place. There were snack vans and Rush Merch vans galore. I was in Rush heaven!!! Once there we met up with Stewart and Becca Gilray. Bec greeted me with a big hug. And Stew was wearing a kilt!!!!!

The whole experience was really overwhelming for me. When we eventually got inside the arena I found out I was in the middle block and row 10. I couldn't believe how close I was. I was almost dead centre so I got a great view of the whole stage. Once there I found out I was standing next to Tom Garrett (great guy, more about him later) who was experiencing his first ever live Rush gig in the 25 years that he started listening to Rush. I was excited for him and myself. We were like two little boys on Christmas Day opening our presents.

After around 20 mins the lights went down and the R30 intro movie came on. Tom and I were screaming!!!!

When Rush came on I had a few tears of joy in my eyes. Here were my idols perfoming live in front of me again after 12 years. The 3 hour show was amazing.

The boys put on a fantastic performance for their fans who for most have waited 12 years like myself to see/hear them again. For some it was a first time experience and I'll bet one they are never likely to forget.

During the course of the show I started to get thirsty but couldn't get near any vending machines or bars at half time. I didn't want to miss any of the show so I stood for the whole 3 hours dying of thirst which was very heavy going but I didn't care. Tom and I were rockin' out all night and never stopped until the band left the stage after "Limelight".

After the show ended we all made our way out of the arena. I met up with Neph, Woody, Alexj, Tom Garrett and a few others to talk about the show. Some thought it was excellent and some thought it was just okay. I met Dods after the show (also wearing a kilt) who thought the band were a bit flat.

The stalkers (staying at the Holiday Inn) got on their bus and the rest of us who were staying at the Premier Lodge started heading back to the hotel. I needed to go in to the nearest chip shop for a can of coke as I was dying of thirst. I got a bite to eat as well but didn't enjoy that much.

When we got back to the hotel bar, there were a few Rush fans in there who were all tired but very happy. I met a few other guys that night which included Trevor Moody from Northern Ireland who loved the show but never heard of TNMS. I told him all about it and wrote the web address down for him.

When Alex and I retired to our room for the night, we sat up and chatted for ages about all things Rush before we eventually went to sleep about 3am.

What a brilliant start to a brilliant tour!!!!

Next morning (Wed 9th September) I decided to get up and have a nice hot shower before going out for a walk at around 9am. Woody, his mate Greg and Neph were all still in bed (I think) so Alex and I decided to go for a walk. Alex had breakfast at the hotel but I wasn't paying ?7 for a couple of sausages and a slice of bacon and beans. On the walk towards the Wembley Arena I stopped in at a small bakers shop to get a tuna and sweetcorn baguette which only cost ?2 (not bad for London!) which took me ages to eat. Alex and I walked right round the whole arena and looked at parts of the stadium as well (it's bloody huge). I took a few photographs to keep as memories and then we walked back to the hotel.

When we got there, Woody phoned my mobile to ask what Alex and I were up to. He had just got up and to give him around 15 minutes to get sorted and he would meet us out the front.

During this time I checked in with my then fiancee to let her know how I was and how much of a fantastic time I had the night before. Also phoned my mum to let her know how the tour was going.

After Woody and Greg came down, all 4 of us (not Neph as he decided to go into London City centre) all went back to the Green Man as we knew there would be a few others meeting back there later for Rush round 2.

So we all sipped into our first pint of the day (lovely) when Analog and Rich Green (Spirit Of Rich) came along and joined us. It was good to chat for a while to Analog as I didn't get much chance last year due to him being "extremely hungover".

We all had a good laugh and then Andrew Hayes (Hazy) and Ian Chappell (Ian C) came in and joined us as well. We were all buzzing after our first Rush experience the night before and were reminiscing over the songs which completely took us over. Grin

Throughout the day I got to meet a lot of other peeps that I didn't get the chance to the night before. Neil Pudney (Pudders), Neill Tupman (Neillwith2Ls), Lawrence (LaYYZ) and Nicola B were just a few of the new faces I got to meet and every one was just so friendly and easy going.

After a few hours it was time for Woody and Greg to catch their train back to Glossop as they weren't attending the 2nd Wembley show. I walked them back to the hotel to pick up their belongings and wave them off at Wembley Park station before heading back to the Green Man for a couple of hours before walking back down to Wembley arena for the second Rush show.

Tonight I decided to buy some "Rush Merch". I bought the Feedback blue tie-dye shirt and the black "Nebbish" R30 shirt. I also bought a tour-book (wouldn't be the same without one).

At this gig I was on stage right (Alex's side) for the show. My standing buddy for the evening was Mike Brown (Mike) who was a really friendly guy and we got on great. Tom was in front of me this time as was Steve Smith (Vapor Trailer). We all rocked hard again for Rush's second UK performance of the tour. I managed to sneak in my digital camera for a few pics of the band of which some turned out very well. I was impressed!!!

During the break, I managed to nip out and get myself a bottle of water so this helped me get through the rest of the gig "unthirsty" and the guys didn't disappoint either.

After the gig, we all descended to the front of the arena again to which there was a better response from a lot of people. This gig was better than the night before's and it showed. Neph was particularly pleased with the performance and even got to meet Howard Ungerleider (Rush's lighting engineer) which made his night.

Again we all headed back to the hotel and had a couple of drinks before heading to bed, tired but happy (again).
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H3WMW



Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 594
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PART TWO


Day three (Friday 10th September)

I woke up at 7.30am to find that Alexj had already left. He had mentioned that he would leave early in the morning to get home to his wife and kids so he must have left REALLY early. I didn't even hear him go.

Anyway, I had a quick bath and then at around 8am I checked out of my hotel (Premier Lodge) and descended towards Wembley Park tube station and got myself a ticket for Piccadilly. I think I changed trains at Bakerloo.

When I got to Piccadilly I walked towards the centre of the train station and was just about to phone Sean O'Brien when he rang me!! Freaky or what? He asked where I was and I told him. He said that he was there too. Asking if I could see Burger King and I said yes and that I was behind it. So on walking round the front I see Sean tucking into a bacon and brown sauce butty. He said that we were waiting for a few other people before we went to catch the bus up to Birmingham so I decided to buy a bacon and brown sauce butty as well. It was delicious too. Mmmmmm.

After a short while Sean and I were joined by Paul Berry (Bez), Dave Brenchley, Keith Nixon (The Letter R), Donald Chalker (Chalker The Stalker) and Chris (I think that was his name?). At around 10am we headed up to the main streets of Piccadilly to catch our bus and a very luxurious bus it was too. So off we went to the Holiday Inn to pick up the rest of the stalkers. It was good to see so many people on the bus, especially Dan Hudson who I met last year at EuCon'03. He was my seating buddy for the trip up to Birmingham. At this point I got to meet the "infamous" Peter Graham who had previously missed his flight two days before. To me it seemed like a very short journey as it only seemed like about half an hour.

Becca Gilray handed out our stalker packs which included an exclusive stalker t-shirt, a stalker laminated pass, sightseeing information for the cities we were visiting and Wrigley's chewing gum!! lol My pack also included the Contents Under Pressure book which I ordered on the Elevate website. During the journey I caught up with Dan on all the news we've experienced over the past year and had a look through my CUP book and R30 tourbook. Also on this journey I met Jim Will (Fenix) who was sitting in front of me so we had an interesting conversation about where he lived and that my band had played a gig near his hometown of Clatt, near Aberdeen just 2 months earlier. Also it was interesting to hear that Pink Floyd (the real one) were back in the studio recording a new album. I got really excited about this as PF are another one of my favourite bands.

After a short while we arrived at the Holiday Inn (Express) in Birmingham. It was about 12pm so we couldn't check into our rooms at the hotel as it was too early. As we got off the bus I met my room mate Jon Dahms (Basspedal Man) and we got on well from the start.

As we couldn't check into the room we dumped our luggage in a locked room in the hotel and went to the pub next door called "The Little Owl". It was a nice and friendly little pub which did meals as well. So after about an hour or so (after the lunch period when it had got a bit quieter) Gebs, JA (Gebs' wife), Peter Graham, Chris and Henk "Andrew MacNaughtan eat yer friggin' heart out" Vinkes and myself went to have a meal. Henk is a really great guy. He took pictures of everyone and everything with his camera so he's got lots and lots of memories to look back over.

We had a few laughs over dinner (mainly talking about Peter's misfortune [Poor guy embarrassed ] ). During this period, Sean O'Brien came over to the table and asked if I could help settle a dispute that he and Chris Quartly had. I gave Sean the right information to which he said "CQ you b@st@rd" as Chris was right. Later I had arranged with Julie-Ann for us all to get together later in the evening to go out for a meal in Birmingham city centre and then went back to the hotel to check into the room. By this time Jon had checked in and was having a nap when I got to the room. We had a long chat about Rush (obviously) and the bands that he and I were in and talking about girlfriends etc....

After about 2 hours I decided to go back along to the pub to see if there were any other stalkers still there. On the way out I saw Becca, Tom Garrett and Ron Hill (Captain Ron) getting into Fuzzy's car. "Where are you all going?" I asked to which the reply was "helping out at NEC for EuCon tomorrow". I wanted to help out but there wasn't any room in Fuzzy's car so I wished them all goodbye and headed over to "The Little Owl". Once there, there were a few stalkers who decided not to venture into the city. I asked Julie-Ann and Gebs if plans were still on to go into the city but they said they would rather stay at the pub (which was fine by me). We had a really good laugh all evening, and then it was almost time to retire for the night. I went back to the hotel bar and had a couple of drinks. We met Ashley Davidson and Dods back at the hotel who had been to see Gary Numan in concert but they left after 10 minutes as they did not enjoy the performance. A bit later I saw Reg Sweeting-Jones (Reg SJ) and he brought Jon Miller (Jonners) back with him. They both said how much they had enjoyed Gary Numan's performance but they were big Numan fans anyway so that's understandable.

Julie-Ann had told me of a certain conversation regarding a member of our group who liked "Spandau Ballet" so when that guy came into the room I couldn't help but shout "GOLD!!!" to which we were all in fits of laughter, especially Julie-Ann who was in hysterics. lol lmao

After about 20 mins when we'd all calmed down a bit after the hilarity I decided to go to my room to read a little of my CUP book before going to sleep. Just as I'd settled down, Jon came in and so I stayed up for about another hour about where he'd been (city centre clubbing) and told me a rather interesting story about "Porn-o-cab".


Next day (Saturday 11th September) I was up at around 8am and jumped in the shower which was really nice and hot and got myself ready for the day's events. IT WAS EUCON DAY!!!! And I was really looking forward to it. After breakfast (which was continental crap) I decided to log on to one of the internet pods (of which there were two in the restaurant) and post some of my record-breaking posts on TNMS.

After about an hour we were ready to head along to the NEC Salamander suite for EuCon. We'd booked taxis to take us there and I happened to be in the first taxi (Woohoo). When we got there we were issued with our "dayglo orange" EuCon wristbands which were really nice (I kept mine on till the end of the tour). Once we had waited in the queue for 15 mins we went up a few flights of stairs to the Salamander suite. The suite on the left had a bar and a few stalls with Rush memorabilia and miscellanious items as well. There was also a hamburger/hot dog/fries still (which came in very handy a few hours later). It was here that I got to meet Ann Woodacre (Mrs Woody) so for most of the day I was in Mr and Mrs Woody's company.

When we walked into the main suite (which was huge), we saw a Rush gig being played onto a projection screen. This gig was the "A View From The Palace (remastered) DVD which belonged to Simon Fraser-Clarke (yyzgit) who is guitarist for Rush tribute band YYZ. I asked him if he could do me a copy to which I received just a few days ago and it's superb.

After about 45 minutes of this, it was time for Rush Idol. I hoped to put myself down to play bass guitar on "Tom Sawyer" but when I went to speak to Stewart Gilray about this, Simon took me aside and asked if I would be interested in being house bassist for the event. WOULD I?? I was honoured at being asked this. It was a good event which saw some good players/singers and some not so good however that did not spoil the enjoyment of the day.

The highlight of EuCon for me was being presented with various sex toys which included "Grace" the blow-up doll which was for my stag day/night. I were to be married in 5 weeks after the Rush tour. I couldn't believe that I had to carry the doll around for the rest of the day however Neill Tupman guarded her while I nipped to the loo (THANKS NEILL!!).

After Rush Idol we were treated to an hour and a half (roughly) set from tribute band YYZ and they put on a brilliant show (well done guys Wink ) before the grand finale where there was a huge raffle and lots of good prizes were up for grabs. At the very end, Stewart Gilray was presented with a fantastic PRS (Paul Reed Smith) guitar which used to be owned by the one and only Alex Lifeson as a gift. The look on Stew's face was a picture. He was clearly touched!!

Then it was on to the NEC arena which was just a short walk away. I got to meet a few more people at the NEC including Andre (Norwegian) who came all the way over from Norway with his friends just for EuCon and NEC1 gig. It was his first live Rush experience so again I was all excited for him. Looking at the size of NEC was astounding.

On the way over to my seat I passed the soundboard/lighting area when I happened to see.......Howard Ungerleider talking to someone. I made a beeline right over to the desk and then I realised that he was talking to Neil Warnock who is also a big name in the Rush camp. I asked Howard and Neil if I could take their picture with my camera phone (as I had my digi camera confiscated at the door embarrassed Angry ) but they gladly posed for me and I shook their hands and off I went happy as Larry.

So here it was, Rush round three. Lights dimmed, R30 intro movie, Jerry Stiller saying "Where's my man Lerxst, hit me baby!" and then "Finding My Way" for the third time. Joining me on Alex's side this evening were Tom Garrett again and Reg SJ. This was Reg's first gig of the R30 tour and so far had been "unspoiled" (well done mate Wink ). When "Between The Wheels" was performed I saw Reg wiping away tears so I knew that he was really happy to have heard BTW on this tour.

Then came "La Villa Strangiato"!!! At this point I blew up my then-deflated doll and during the song I put her on my shoulders to which I got a rapturous applause and a lot of laughs. My aim was to throw the doll down the front so that Alex would see it and include it in his "rant" however it was not to be. The doll got tossed back and forward for a while until it landed right at the front of the stage. Geddy's face was a picture. Shocked <--- sums it up nicely. He and Neil were laughing when they saw it but Alex didn't see it!!!! Bugger, my plan failed but it got loads of laughs and applause so I was proud of the fact that I entertained a lot of people.

At the end we headed out of the arena. I went and got my camera back then went back to the Premier Lodge hotel with Mr and Mrs Woody, Mick Parry (Mickpaz2112) and Laurence (LaYYZ). It was a very rainy night and the people who decided to walk back got utterly soaked. I didn't fortunately as I got a lift back in Woody's car (the peachmobile!! lmao ).

When we got back to the PL we had a few drinks in the bar and queue was rediculous. Apparently there were only 2 bar staff and one of them was washing glasses!!!! Angry .
I stayed for a while and had a laugh with Woody, Ann, Maria, Mark H, Captain Beardy, MickPaz, Bez, Bruce McGregor, Dave Egan, Neph, Stuart Borland, Dave Arnott, Harvey McGillvray and a few others (sorry too many to mention).

Then it was time to head back to our own hotel just along the road. Sean O'Brien, Dave Lack and myself walked back and went to the bar to see a lot of people getting a chinese delivery. I was starving but was too late to order anything. Oh well, not to worry.

After around 15 mins I headed off to bed, tired but very very happy.
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H3WMW



Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 594
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PART THREE


Sunday 12th September and again I got up around 8am and jumped in the shower. Another continental breakfast was on the menu so I decided to pass this time. I went back on the internet terminal and posted a huge thread about my experiences of the day before including my blow up doll "Grace Under-Inflated" ...



After chatting to a few of the stalkers about EuCon and the NEC1 show for a while, it was time for me to head up to Manchester. I wasn't travelling in the stalker bus with the rest of the stalkers as Woody and Ann had kindly offered to give me a lift to Manchester from Birmingham as they had the car (the peachmobile) with them and were going to the MEN gig at night anyway so I took them up on their offer (thanks Mark and Ann Wink ). I also asked Jon Dahms if he could look after my luggage and take it with him to the hotel in Manchester which he agreed (thanks mate Wink )

So on the journey we were listening to various Rush albums which notably included "A Show Of Hands". On the way I phoned Kelley to let her know I was on my way to Manchester via Glossop and basically just to check in with her (you don't need to tell me, I know what you're all thinking!!).

During the journey Woody took a few wrong turnings and he thought that we would be on the wrong motorway for ages but this was not to be the case after all as he eventually found himself on the right road. Woody had only passed his driving test around 2 or 3 months before so he was forgiven. He couldn't stop apologising for his "bad" driving and told me that this was the worst that he had driven since passing his test.

After a few hours, I started to get really hungry as I hadn't had any breakfast. Arriving in Glossop, we went round to see Woody's mate Greg first just to let him know that we were back from Birmingham then he followed us round to Woody's house. Woody and Ann then dropped off all their luggage at the house before proceeding to Manchester. When we got there, all 4 of us proceeded towards "The Moon Under Water" pub so that Greg could get a couple of pints. (This was to be the meeting place for all the stalkers.)

At this point I started to feel really hungry and was getting tired as well after the long journey. Woody wanted to take me and Ann to a chinese buffet restaurant that he recommended very highly so we walked around for a while to find it but to no avail. On the way, we found another chinese restaurant and was I glad!!!

The buffet was delicious but then when I was going to pay for my meal, Woody and Ann stopped me from doing so and they paid for the whole thing. YOU GUYS ARE TOO GENEROUS!!

Then it was time to head back to "The Moon Under Water" pub. By this time there were a few other Rush fans there, some I knew and some I didn't know. So it was my turn to get the drinks in after Woody and Ann paying for the meal. Woody met up with a few of his mates and introduced me to them. They were all really nice guys.

Then all the stalkers came in and Neph told me that "Slim" aka James Gibbon was in the building. I was intrigued to meet him as only Ashley Davidson from TNMS had met him previously. He was sitting at a huge table with a lot of other TNMSers. He's a nice guy in real life and a pleasure to talk to (he seems different on TNMS for some reason??? ). During this time, I also met Steve Harrison, Sary (from Finland) and Exiled Yorkie (who flew all the way over from USA for the MEN gig). It was a good afternoon and lots were talked about, mainly the story of my "Grace" doll making it to the stage at NEC1 gig.

I met two new guys who were from Liverpool called Shaun and Mark(?) who didn't know about TNMS but again gave them the website address and told them all about it. They had heard from another source about the "Grace" doll at NEC1 and when I told them that it was my doll, they looked at me in disbelief. I tried to get hold of a photo that Henk Vinkes took but he told me that he didn't have his camera with him which was a bummer. Anyway, I really enjoyed speaking to the two guys and they were really looking forward to the show. I wanted to tell them what happens (R30 intro and the bobbleheads movie) but I didn't want to spoil it for them so I just said that they were in for a real treat and left it at that.

Then it was time to head off to the MEN arena which was just a few hundred yards down the road from "The Moon". I walked down with Woody, Ann, Greg and Woody's other mates. To prevent my digi camera from being confiscated I shoved it down the front of my jeans and it looked like I had a huge wedding tackle. lmao lmao But I managed to get it past the security which was great.

When Woody, Ann and I got into the MEN, someone (can't remember who, sorry embarrassed ) told us that the Rush roadcrew (or it might have been the band themselves) brought my "Grace" doll to Manchester!!!! I couldn't believe it!!!! I was so excited and proud of the fact that I had made an impression (however small) on the band.

When we got into the main arena I had to stop and look around just to take in the sheer size of the place. It was the biggest indoor arena I'd ever been in and it was HUGE!!!!
At stage right, in the roadie's pit was "Grace". I had to tell everyone I knew about it and they didn't believe me. I thought that they were going to bring it onto the stage at some point and I thought Alex may even have included her in his "La Villa" rant this time but again it was not meant to be. However I was informed later that some people saw "Grace" sitting on a chair and strapped to an amp rack far stage right (on the stage this time). I felt really warm inside knowing that the band had something that belonged to me. On my way to my seat I saw Howard Ungerleider again who was working but when I shouted to him he turned and gave me a wave as he had recognised me from the previous night. I was standing in the middle block (row Q) this time so I was a bit further back tonight than I'd previously been at the other shows but that didn't stop my excitement.

Again, the lights went down, the R30 intro movie being played with a thunderous sound and the crowd going mental. 15,000 screaming fans is a sound that was music to my ears. All I could think about was, "I'll bet the guys (Rush) are loving this hype!!" Jerry Stiller came on with his "What did they put in my tea?" speech and then Alex broke into "Finding My Way" to rapturous applause, screams and whistles!! The sound quality was really good at this gig, even better than the previous three gigs. The atmosphere was electric. When the guys played "The Spirit Of Radio" I looked round the whole arena to see 15,000 people all clapping in synch to the part "Invisible airwaves crackle with life". I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience. This gig was a bit special. It was Neil Peart's 52nd birthday and during the bands performance of "YYZ", a live image of a birthday cake with "Happy Birthday Neil" with lit candles was displayed on the projection screen behind him. Also after his drum solo, lots of us sang "happy birthday" to him but I'm not sure if he heard us.

After the band's rendition of "Working Man", Geddy said how much he appreciated the crowd that that we were "amazing". I was sooo touched at this point that I started to cry. Sean O'Brien was standing next to me and saw how much I was touched. He gave me a reassuring handshake (thanks Sean Grin ) then when "Summertime Blues" was performed, Woody, Ann and Laurence (LaYYZ) came down to where we were and we were all rocking hard just like Andy Field. It was fantastic!!

A short time later, it was time to leave the MEN and catch the stalker bus back to the hotel (which up to this point I haven't been to yet). I got a text message on my phone from Becca to advise me to let everyone know to meet outside the main entrance. I didn't know if I had entered the building by the main entrance or not but I stayed close to other stalkers on the way out. We eventually ended up walking through the train station next to the MEN and coming out the other side. At this point we were kind of lost and didn't know where the bus was. I phoned Stew and he directed me to where he was which was fine. I saw Woody and said my goodbyes to him and Ann. Woody and Tom Garrett then told me that they had had a word with Howard Ungerleider and told him about the story with "Grace" the doll. Howard said to them that he would do his best to get the doll signed by all three members of the band and for me to get the doll back when we got to SECC Glasgow. All I needed to do was go and see Howard before the SECC show. I thought it was a wind-up but it was true. I couldn't believe it. I thought that I would get the chance to perhaps meet Rush when I was to get my doll so that made me even more excited.

So we got back on the stalker bus and then headed to our hotel. The journey back seemed quite long as the hotel was quite a few miles away from Manchester city centre.

Back at the hotel, we all went into the bar for drinks. After 2 drinks I was really exhausted after the day's events so decided to head off to bed while everyone else stayed in the bar.

I had just settled down when my room-mate Jon banged on the door (we only had one key to the room). He then came in and got ready for bed. He was in hysterics as he was telling me about the plans that he and Ashley Davidson had for "one of our party". I was convinced that a group of them were gonna kill him and then bury his body in woods somewhere "a la Shallow Grave movie"!!! After about an hour, we both fell asleep.

End of day five.
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H3WMW



Joined: 16 Nov 2003
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Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PART FOUR


Next morning (Monday 13th September) I had a nice long shower then went downstairs for breakfast. Jon was still in bed so I didn't want to disturb him. Breakfast was great this morning as it was a "full English" instead of the usual croissant and cereal. I really enjoyed that.

After breakfast, Gebs showed me the pics that Henk had took with his camera and transferred to Gebs' laptop PC. They were fantastic pictures and looked very professional. I think even Andrew MacNaughtan (Rush's official photographer) would have struggled to get pics as good as Henk's, and he was in the crowd, not up next to the stage!!! Grin
I gave Gebs my camera memory card and he transferred my pics to his PC as well. Some of them turned out okay and others not so great. Gebs told me that red light had an "out-of-focus" effect on the pics which was a shame.

At around 10am we were waiting to get on the bus to head up to Scotland but we were delayed as we were waiting for Stewart to get back from Leeds with Andy Field. So at around 11.30am we were finally on our way. Andy waved us all off.

On this journey, I had Dan Hudson sitting next to me again for the journey north. The bus's video player was put into action for the trip which was great. We were watching old videos from the 80's and also interviews with Geddy and Alex from the same era (nice specs Ged!! lmao) c.1984.

There were a couple of stops on the journey. The first one was supposed to be just a toilet and light refreshment break so I decided not to get anything to eat at this stop. There was a second stop break around 2 hours later to which we all had late lunch.

When we crossed the border into Scotland, we all cheered. We pulled into stop at Gretna Green and dropped Chris Quartly and his girlfriend Carrie off there so they could stay with mates. Jim Will (Fenix) opened some bottles of champagne for us all to drink a toast to a great stalker tour!!! WAHEY!!!!

We eventually arrived at our hotel in Glasgow just after 6pm. We were all tired but happy we arrived. After a brief relaxation period and a quick wash, I was ready to go out with some others to an Indian restaurant in Glasgow. There were about 30 of us who went to the "Creme de la Creme" restaurant. Captain Ron, Graeme M, Tom Garrett and I were among the first to arrive at the restaurant. When we got to the bar, who did we see but none other than Howard Ungerleider. He was sitting having a meal with David (live projection engineer). I didn't want to go over and bother him during his meal but once everyone was seated, I went up to the bar and asked the bar maid if she knew what Howard and David were drinking. I offered to pay for their next drink which was when I got talking to a gentleman called Paul (who flew all the way over from Canada who is a member of the Canadian RushCon committee). We had a very interesting conversation and was a pleasure to speak to. He too wanted to buy drinks for Howard and David so we paid half each and asked the bar maid to take the drinks over to them. At this point, Paul and I went back to our own seats to order our meal. I kept glancing over to Howard's table to see if he got the drinks. When the bar maid went to their table and explained what happened, he looked over to our table and raised his glass. I raised my glass back to him and he had a big smile on his face.

After about an hour when we were well into our main courses, Howard and David came over to our table to talk to us. He had thanked us for the drinks and told us that Geddy, Neil and Alex have enjoyed their time in the UK immensely. He also told us of the band's possible touring plans for the next studio album. It looks like Rush won't be touring UK next time but perhaps go out to Asia and perhaps back to Brazil after the success on the VT tour. Howard also told us an amusing story of when the band were performing in USA on the R30 tour. During the pyrotechnic part of One Little Victory, the flames were quite high in that they reached the really high parts of the stage area. There were a lot of dead spiders up there which were blewn out by the flames. A few of those spiders landed on Neil when he was playing and apparently it was very funny to see Neil trying to shake off the spiders while playing. LMAO

With that, Howard wished us good luck and hoped that we would enjoy the show the following night. We stayed around for a while and listened to the karaoke session going on upstairs.

After a while we all got taxis back to the hotel and back to the bar. This time I stayed up for a while and had a good laugh with Henk, Dave Brenchley, Captain Ron, Tom Garrett, Dods, Japes and some others. Seppo came back to a rather frosty reception from his sister Eya who had fallen asleep before we went out for the meal and didn't even wake her up before he went. She was livid with him.

Then it was time to phone Kelley and give her the rundown of what I had been up to for the day. After that I decided to go to bed. End of day six.

On the morning of Tuesday 14th September, I got up and went for my usual shower. Again, Jon was still in bed so I didn't want to interrupt him. Went downstairs for breakfast until I found out that it was the continental stuff again and I thought "not for me thanks".

During this time I had a word with Stew about perhaps changing rooms. Not that I didn't enjoy sharing with the Basspedalman but it was the fact that Kelley (my then fiancee) was coming through to Glasgow from our home town of Cowdenbeath in the bus to see me and to accompany me (well us all really) to the SECC gig. Stewart said that was okay as he had booked a room for Chris Quartly and Carrie which they didn't use as they were staying with friends in Gretna Green.

So at this point (which was about 9.30am) I decided to go (window) shopping for a while as Kelley's bus wasn't arriving at Glasgow bus station until 12.30pm. I was really looking forward to seeing her as I'd missed her terribly while I was away and I knew that she missed me too. AWWWW.

So I headed off from the hotel (Holiday Inn) towards the city centre which was really just around the corner. I went to Gregg's the bakers to get myself breakfast which consisted of a tuna mayo baguette and a bottle of Scotland's national drink (Irn Bru Grin ). After that I had a look round some shops and then thought.......wouldn't it be nice if I got Kelley some flowers just to show how much I missed her. So then off I went round the streets of Glasgow looking for a florist. After about an hour with no luck I bumped into Hazy and Ian C who were taking in "the sights" with Hazy's video camera. I explained to them what I proposed to do so they helped me look for a florist.

During our walk about this guy (who claimed to be a holy monk) stopped us in the street. Ian kept walking on but Hazy and I were stopped in our tracks. I'm sure the man was one of those "GOURANGA" type chappies but he asked us (as I had a Rush T-shirt on) if we liked "rock music". We both inevitably said yes and then the guy pulled out a CD from his (rather heavy-looking) bag and proceeded to tell us about a band that were religious in some way. The man said, "You've heard of Punk Rock yes?, well this CD I like to call "Monk Rock!!" I was finding it hard to keep a straight face lmao and Hazy was totally bemused. Anyway, the man was talking about some charity he was trying to raise money for by selling the CDs. He asked us if we could pay ?3 each for a CD but as I didn't want one Grin we both gave him a pound and sent him on his merry way!

When we caught up with Ian he was laughing his head off. We all saw the funny side. Then it was back to looking for a florist. We eventually found a florist situated bang in the middle of the Central Station (train station). When I asked the vendor lady if she had "Orange Roses" (which are Kelley's favourite flowers) she said that she didn't have any.

I then asked if she knew of any other florists in the city and how to get there. She was very helpful and gave me directions to the nearest "Interflora" shop.

So off we went to the shop. After about 15 minutes we found it (to my relief). At this point it was about 11.45am and Hazy and Ian decided to explore round the shops a little more. So I said goodbye to them and went into the shop.

I asked the lady there if she had the orange roses to which she looked all round the shop but alas there were none.
I thought "OH NO!!!" as she said this. What was I going to get her now??

had a look round the shop and I saw lovely "red" roses so I bought a dozen of them and asked the lady if they could be delivered to the "Holiday Inn" for room 207. She said yes and that was sorted.

Then it was time to go and meet Kelley from the bus station. I walked up to the station and got there around 12.15pm so I didn't really have to wait around long. At 12.30pm-ish the bus came in and Kelley and I greeted each other with a big hug and a kiss. We were so pleased to see each other!!!

So on the walk back down to the city centre I was telling Kelley about various things that had happened or I experienced on the tour that I hadn't mentioned on the phone to her. We headed back to the hotel and on the way, I bumped into Donald Chalker, Keith (the Letter R) and Gebs and his wife (all separately) so I introduced them all to "the future Mrs Winsborough and then went back to the hotel.

The room was ready so we headed up there and I moved my luggage from the old room to the new one. We sat and relaxed for a while and Kelley told me how her "hen night" went on Saturday. (She was having her hen night the same day as my stag night at EuCon/NEC1.) She really had a good time and ended up "pissed". However I wouldn't have expected anything less from my future wife.

We then headed out the hotel towards Hope Street where the "Solid Rock Cafe" was. This was going to be the Rush fans' meeting place before the SECC gig.

When we got there, there were no familiar faces about yet. So Kelley and I had lunch there. During the meal, there were a bunch of "Northern Irish" guys sitting at the next table. One of them had mentioned "Ron" (Captain Ron) so I knew that it was going to be Ron's brother. Ron had told me the night before that his brother and mates were flying over for the gig and to meet up with Ron. I said to the guys, "Are you talking about Ron Hill by any chance and they said yes. I introduced myself and mentioned that I know Ron so we were chatting for ages.

After finishing our food, Steve Smith (VT) and Ian came in so I did the introductions again. At this point, Kelley was feeling a little under the weather so we went out to get paracetamol for her. On the way, we saw Tom Garrett, Bez, Henk and a few others on the other side of the road. I shouted over and waved and said I'd see them in the Solid Rock later.

After about 10 minutes we headed back to the Solid Rock where we were greeted by Neph, Stuart B, Lorraine (Stu's sister) and Kevin Owen. Kev gave me the spare ticket that he had for Kelley and didn't even take any money for it (what a guy Grin Grin Grin I owe you one Kev!!). Neph then said that they were all going for an indian meal and that they'd be back soon. At this point Kelley and I went back into the pub and it had gotton seriously busier. There were a few more familiar faces now so again I introduced Kelley to most of them including Tom Garrett. He was extremely nice to Kelley and they got on like a house on fire!! (nice one mate. Wink )

As the hours went on, the pub got very busy to the point where you could hardly move. The DJ had previously put on various Rush songs but someone had gone out and bought "Rush In Rio" on DVD which they handed over the bar to be played on the big projection screen. This was amazing!!! The whole place (full of Rush fans) cheered (me included) when RIR came on. Kelley knew exactly what it was as soon as the first chord of "Tom Sawyer" was played.

Gebs and his wife (JA) came over and sat beside us. Gebs also told me that he had brought along a t-shirt for me which was an exclusive Rush-hub t-shirt for the DRE (Digital Rush Experience). I had previously badgered Gebs for one as it looked really cool and I think he just gave in in the end (Cheers Gebs Wink ).

Then it was time to head off to the SECC. On the way out Craig Smith, who I met last year at EuCon, introduced me to Richard Scott (Dixkot) who is a regular poster on the "Bacchus Plateau" section of TNMS. It was only a brief encounter but he said to me "I'm not drinking the Stella tonight," to which I replied "And I'm not drinking the Irn-Bru". This is a private joke between us as Richard normally posts that he's drinking "Stella" while I post regularly "Irn Bru" so it was a total change for both of us that night!!!!

So Gebs, decided that we were walking down to the SECC. It was only about 2 miles!!!! Shocked Shocked You should've seen the look on Kelley's face. It was a picture.

So in our merry group there was myself, Kelley, Gebs, JA, Tom Garrett and Captain Ron. We were all having a great laugh and talking about experiences over the last week. Kelley got on really well with Gebs' wife.

When we were almost at the SECC, we had to walk down a grass verge. When Tom walked down it, he fell flat on his arse. lol lol Kelley couldn't stop laughing and neither could Tom!! He was okay though and didn't injure himself.

On arriving at SECC, I saw a few other familiar faces including Analog and Dave Lythgoe (Lyth). Tom and I chatted to them for a bit while Kelley and JA nipped to the toilet.

When we made our way into the arena, Tom said "There's Howard!!" so we immediately made a bee-line for him. He was talking to a guy called Peter Brockbank (roadcrew) at the time and I felt a bit guilty about interrupting them (sorry Peter). I asked Howard if there was any chance I'd be getting my "Grace" doll back to which he said no. "The guys are keeping it but they are looking after it, especially Geddy" he said. This made me smile to think that Geddy Lee now owns something that belonged to me. I never thought I'd hear myself saying that about a blow up doll!!!! lmao lmao

After a 10 minute chat with Howard, Kelley, Tom and I went to our seats. We were all next to each other so that was fine. Again we were centre stage in Block HH (middle block) but in row S so we were a bit further back. Before the gig started I phoned my mate Gregor (Goog) as I had arranged to meet him in the arena. He happened to be only in the next block to me. He came over and we shook hands. He was really looking forward to seeing Rush again as this was the only show on the tour he was seeing them and previously like me, he hadn't seen them in 12 years either.

A couple of rows from where we were I saw a man in a TNMS t-shirt who I didn't recognise. I shouted over and said "Excuse me, I see you are a TNMS member but who are you??" He then bowed to me to reveal his balding head and at that point I realised that he was "Baldie Pete" (previously Bigfatguy) as his avatar shows exactly the same pose. We too, chatted for a short while until the lights went down for what was to be my last Rush gig of the tour.

The R30 intro movie came on as usual to a rip-roaring crowd. Kelley held her ears at this point until Jerry Stiller movie came on. It then quietened down a bit, as like the other shows until Jerry mentions "Alright get on stage already you guys, c'mon it's showtime!!" and then Alex Lifeson starts that famous "Finding My Way" bad-ass riff to rapturous applause and cheering.

During "The Spirit Of Radio" I asked Kelley to look round the arena to see everyone in the place clapping simultaneously to Ged's immortal "Invisible airwaves...." line.

During the course of the night, Kelley went and got some water for Tom and me as she wasn't all that impressed with Rush's music (she doesn't understand like we do).

The crowd at SECC were fantastic and up to that point were the best crowd of the tour (for me). The arena was quite a bit smaller than MEN so that made the gig more intimate which I liked.

During "Resist" I couldn't help but bawl my eyes out crying with emotion. As most (if not all) will know that Geddy mentions on the Different Stages live disc that the song is inspired by "the great country of Scotland" so with this in mind, it was extra special for me hence the tears.

They played a fantastic show (as always) and I felt a little sad as this was (probably) going to be last time I would see the guys perform in Scotland or even UK. At the end of the gig we all headed outside. I saw Phil Purbrick (Muppet) and Heather (Schuette from by-tor.com) on the way out so I spoke to them briefly before Kelley, Tom and I went looking for the bus.

We realised that we'd come out the wrong exit so by the time we did get to the bus, all the seats were taken. Dods' wife Sheila was also on the bus with us. As there was no seats, Kelley and I had to stand on the way back to the hotel. This gave me the perfect chance to introduce everyone to Kelley. There were a few people who hadn't met her up to this point. Now she'd met everyone!!!

When we got back to the hotel we went straight to the bar as did everyone else. During this time Gebs asked me if I wanted to go to the NEC2 show the following night as he was driving down and it wouldn't be a problem getting a ticket. I was so tempted to do it so I asked Kelley but she didn't want to go and wasn't keen on me going so I had to decline Gebs' offer (sorry mate embarrassed ). After one drink, Kelley and I headed up to our room. I noticed that the flowers hadn't been delivered to the room so I made an excuse to Kelley that I'd forgotten to speak to Stew about something and went back down stairs. When I got to reception I saw the flowers sitting there on the desk. I checked with a porter to say they were mine and that I was taking them.

On the way back, JA said that she, Gebs and Henk Vinkes were in their room looking at the photos on Gebs PC. There had been more added and I had a few to add myself so I presented Kelley with the flowers to which she was grateful. We gave each other a big hug then both went along to see the photos in Gebs' room. I think we were there for a good hour and a half before it was time to go back to our own room and go to bed.

Next morning, (Wednesday 15th September) Kelley and I went down for breakfast to which I had a couple of slices of toast only. Kelley had a croissant but didn't really feel hungry. It was then time to get our luggage together as the stalker bus was leaving at around 10am.

As everyone was getting ready to get on the bus some came up to Kelley and I and said it was a pleasure to meet us and wished us all the best for our wedding. As our taxi came round to the hotel I jumped on to the bus and announced to everyone that I was now leaving the stalker tour and wished everyone to enjoy themselves at the NEC2 gig that night and that I would see them all at the next TNMS EuCon or similar event. I turned around to see Captain Ron who was a bit emotional. He had a few tears in his eyes (cry ) so I gave him a hug and said that we would meet again soon.

Stew and Becca were standing outside the bus so I hugged both of them and thanked Stew for everything that he had done and that I was forever grateful for giving me the time of my life.

With that, Kelley and I jumped into the taxi and left the bus standing.

That concludes my stalker diary folks. I hope you all enjoyed reading my "musings" as much as I enjoyed writing them.
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Middle Kingdom



Joined: 06 Aug 2005
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Location: Bacchus Plateau

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting through part one.
Rush stories are fun to read.
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awip2062



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rush stories are our lives, eh?
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schuette



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brilliant!!......we need to meet in a pub sometime so you can tell me it for real
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awip2062



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has H3WMW gotten ahold of you, Schu?
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schuette



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in a PM yes he has
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H3WMW



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

schuette wrote:
brilliant!!......we need to meet in a pub sometime so you can tell me it for real
It would be a pleasure. What we can maybe do is perhaps meeting up in Behind The Wall in Falkirk one night some weekend?

You bring your partner and I'll bring Kelley.

How does that sound?
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schuette



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian doesnt really like pubs as he doesnt drink....but I'm enough company for both of us Wink.......still bring Kelley though....and BTW is an excellent choice as it has a beer garden so I can still smoke
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool.

We could perhaps get something arranged for August. I'm fairly quiet with Joe's Band in that month.

Oh by the way, can't remember if I told you but the gig at PJ Molloys in Dunfermline on the 11th August is cancelled due to the refurbishments being waaaaay behind schedule.

I'll let you know when another date has been arranged.

x
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cool
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my story of my greatest Rush experience ever (not counting finding By-tor's Dog House on the internet many a year ago).

*****

It was October of 1993 and tickets for the Counterparts tour were going on sale. I was eight months pregnant with my oldest daughter but there was NO way I was going to miss out on getting my ticket! I was planning on attending the show alone so I off I went, at 5:00 am, to get in line at the, remember these, record store for my ticket. It was a very foggy morning and the driving was quite treacherous. But I arrived safely at the store in Moreno Valley, CA.

There were about 10 people in line ahead of me, mostly teenage boys. They were so impressed with the pregnant lady being there for her Rush ticket! Two of the nice young Rushian men, brothers, lived just a few blocks from the store so they actually went home to get me a chair to sit in while we waited in line! Another went to the Circle K and bought me a soda and some snacks. How cool is that?? Cool

At 10:00 tickets finally went on sale and we all got our kick-ass seats. We compared where we were sitting and I found out that these nice young men were actually sitting right in front of me. Shocked

Flash forward two months...

It is now concert time. I am off to the show by myself, not yet meeting Panacea until I'm living 3000 miles away. Crying or Very sad I arrive at the Pond in Anaheim, CA to see my boys! I get to my seat, program and tshirts in hand. There are the two young men from the record store, and they remember me! "Wow! You look different without the little one in tow!" hahaha I whip out a picture of my daughter and they appropriately ooooh and aaaah over her. We get talking about the show, what we can't wait to hear, blah blah blah... I tell them that I'm all psyched up for Cold Fire (was then and still is my favorite Rush song) and when I hear the opening riffs, they had better watch out cuz I'm going to swan dive! Razz A few songs in to the set, there comes that scratchy guitar, they duck, and I don't swan dive. Laughing

What a night! I'll never forget it, and those nice young Rushian men. I wonder where they are now? Cool
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