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28 July 2008 @ 08:11 pm
Song of the Week #20 - Rush "The Way the Wind Blows"  

Click the image above to play track. Nevermind the video, it's the only studio version on you tube. Photo by John Vinson.

Some of you may have heard about my extremely fun Rush-filled weekend with a local show at Saratoga on Saturday and then two days later at Mohegan Sun in CT. These were Rush show numbers #28 and #29 for me (and I'm the baby among most of my Rush friends coming nowhere close to their 100, 150, 300+ shows). While this is an amazing song, and I could point out all the brilliant aspects of it, instead I'm rambling about something else this week. The lyrics are below - they're a biting commentary on today's U.S. political and social situations and it's an inspired and raw recording of this great band from their 2007 Snakes & Arrows CD - 33+ years and they're still putting out relevant and brilliant music. Brilliant blues guitar-work, great vocals as Geddy is sounding better than ever, and just a pure passionate performance all around.

But my rambling this week is the power of not only this band, but of music in general and how it can form bonds that would never otherwise happen. Something that I've been discussing many times over the past few months is that these shows weren't just about seeing the band on stage, but it was about seeing old friends who haven't been together since the last tour or tours. People from Seattle, Florida, Philly, Buffalo, Boston, Canada, etc. who I wouldn't know otherwise, who I exchange emails with during the 'off-season' - a very close friend of mine in Colorado who I've never met, but correspond with weekly about our love of Rush, photography, the Broncos, etc. Connections made through the passion of following a band.

What's better than your favorite band in the rural state park setting of Saratoga Springs, but to share that with someone from Seattle who you haven't seen since Radio City in 2004; or another person from Buffalo who you saw only too briefly last year but who graced your mailbox in 1991 with a letter, magazine and a list of memorabilia that made your mouth water; another who you could say wrote the book that brought the band to life in my high school days when you couldn't jump on the internet and find out everything about a band in ten minutes - standing next to him at Mohegan for his 315th show when he leaned over and said, "My favorite thing to do in the world, Brad." I nodded and laughed as I'd known that since Visions, but loved hearing it verbalized; and my very dear friend from Boston who I've known since we started writing letters in 1992 and who told me to check out the company I work for now in 1999, he is truly a show within a show and it's almost worth every cent just to see him as he almost tops the show, his energy and passion for Geddy Lee is a joy to watch - "Brad, I know the other two guys are doing their job, I don't need to check in with them." I will never look at chocolate chip cookies the same way ever again!; and last but not least, the only other person of this group who hasn't met the band, the traveler from Florida who drives thousands of miles each tour following them around the country...he and I are no longer in the 'never met the band' group and what a thrill to share that with him. These are the people who have made tours dating back to 1994 and 1996 that much more fun. They hang on the walls of my work home away from home in pictures from tours gone by - to see them at the show means it's that much more special.

And it's all thanks to one little band from Canada, eh?

"Going somewhere?"

The Way the Wind Blows
lyrics - Neil Peart

Now it's come to this
It's like we're back in the Dark Ages
From the Middle East to the Middle West
It's a world of superstition

Now it's come to this
Wide-eyed armies of the faithful
From the Middle East to the Middle West
Pray, and pass the ammunition

So many people think that way
You gotta watch what you say
To them and them, and others too
Who don't seem to see to things the way you do

We can only grow the way the wind blows
On a bare and weathered shore
We can only bow to the here and now
In our elemental war

We can only go the way the wind blows
We can only bow to the here and now
Or be broken down blow by blow

Now it's come to this
Hollow speeches of mass deception
From the Middle East to the Middle West
Like crusaders in unholy alliance

Now it's come to this
Like we're back in the Dark Ages
From the Middle East to the Middle West
It's a plague that resists all science

It seems to leave them partly blind
And they leave no child behind
While evil spirits haunt their sleep
While shepherds bless and count their sheep

Like the solitary pine
On a bare wind-blasted shore
We can only grow the way the wind blows

More Rush:
My interview with Geddy Lee
What's that Smell
Natural Science (live)