Rush and the Soundtrack of my Life

I have spoken before on how Rush has been the soundtrack of my life, which reminds me of the following story. "Dreamline" was the first song that I heard from Rush's Roll the Bones album, and in those pre-Internet days I didn't know that the album was being released, so my first hearing of that song caught me entirely by surprise. My wife and I had recently returned to the United States after having lived in Germany for the past 3½ years, and I had picked up our car in New Orleans and was making my way westward along I-10 toward Fort Huachuca (which is 90 miles south of Tucson).

As I was driving through the vast, empty expanses of Texas, I was channel surfing on my car's stereo to find the best rock stations in each town I passed through. When I made it to El Paso, I was passing by Sunland Park Mall as I tuned to a local station where the DJ said, "Here's the latest single from Rush," and those famous notes of Alex's epic intro came blaring over the car stereo's speakers, which were quickly joined by Geddy's bass and then Neil's thunderous drums. I cranked the car stereo to 11, and I was so immediately enamored with the piece that I could've wrecked the car if I wasn't careful.

That brief, specific moment in time is frozen in my consciousness; I can still see exactly where I was as I literally drove headlong down the highway into an uncertain future. My wife and I were closing a major chapter in our lives and opening another, and "Dreamline" will forever be tied to that memory.

But then again, how could it not when the song's lyrics are:

"They travel on the road to redemption
A highway out of yesterday - that tomorrow will bring
Like lovers and heroes, birds in the last days of spring
We're only at home when we're on the wing
On the wing

When we are young
Wandering the face of the earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that we're only immortal
For a limited time

Time is a gypsy caravan
Steals away in the night
To leave you stranded in Dreamland
Distance is a long-range filter
Memory a flickering light
Left behind in the heartland

We travel in the dark of the new moon
A starry highway traced on the map of the sky
Like lovers and heroes, lonely as the eagle's cry
We're only at home when we're on the fly
On the fly

We travel on the road to adventure
On a desert highway straight to the heart of the sun
Like lovers and heroes, and the restless part of everyone
We're only at home when we're on the run
On the run..."

I have hundreds of stories just like this, which is why - as I mentioned earlier - Rush has been soundtrack of my life. I occasionally sit back and watch any of the live videos that Rush released over the years, and the feeling that best describes each viewing experience is "nostalgia." I know that sounds trite and simplistic, but I have countless memories that are emotionally connected to all of Rush's songs. The live videos are an added plus, because I saw Rush on many of those same tours, and the videos bring back memories of the times in my life when I went to those concerts. Some of those shows were when in was high school and I attended them with my older brother, some shows were when my wife and I were newly married and the tickets that cost a pittance by today's standards were a fortune for me at the time, and in recent years I attended several shows with my older brother and a group of close friends - and every time was a mind-blowing event. Rush never "phoned in" a gig - they always brought their "A Game" and killed it on stage. (Which, of course, is why Neil had retired prior to his untimely death; he knew he couldn't continue playing at that level forever.)

[Deep Sigh.]

I miss Rush.


  1. See for the song's full lyrics.