Wednesday, January 2, 2013

No. 519 – Cold Fire

Performer: Rush
Songwriters: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart
Original Release: Counterparts
Year: 1993
Definitive Version: None

I think I mentioned this, but when Pearl Jam was about to release Vs. in October 1993, that  was the first time I ever paid attention to a particular record release date—and then rushed out to buy the said record.

Vs. was, of course, the No. 1 record that week, setting a sales record that lasted most of the rest of the decade. The No. 2 album just happened to be the highest charting album in the history of that illustrious band. It was this album—Counterparts.

I had no idea that Rush’s latest album was coming out, let alone the same day as Vs. I learned only when I was at the record store—most likely by this time, the new Best Buy on Pierson Road. Hey, new Rush! I’ll buy that, too. My guess is a lot of folks did the same thing as I did, and Pearl Jam’s release, more than anything else, was why Counterparts ended up being the No. 2 album.

Counterparts is known as Rush’s alternative rock album. I don’t know about that, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as the previous two albums—Roll the Bones and Presto. That sentiment in no way diluted my interest in seeing them live when they toured in early 1994. As I mentioned, I saw them twice in the span of four days in March of that year (with Pearl Jam, coincidentally, in between).

The first show was at the Palace at Auburn Hills. I went with Wendy, a female coworker from the Journal backshop, and her husband. I was unable to secure a date, which I suppose was just as well. I could rock out unimpeded.

The second was at the late, great Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Scott got the tickets, and he got tickets that were as good as the ones I got in Auburn Hills were terrible. We were on the floor, about 25 rows from the stage.

I could be wrong, but I think this began the run of shows where Scott finagled excellent seats without exerting much effort. What he learned was that, back then, Ticketmaster’s computer system was regional but ticket sales still were local.

In other words, instead of lining up 30 deep at the local grocery store for a show in Indy, Scott would drive to the nearest Ticketmaster outlet in Ohio—about a half-hour from Muncie—where there was no interest in a show in Indiana. He’d be first in line when tickets went on sale and the sales person always got through right away. I think he had a run of like 11 of 12 arena shows, lasting until when Ticketmaster’s website really got rolling, where he got floor seats.

I didn’t know this at the time; Scott wanted to surprise me with the seat location. (My seats in Michigan, bought via the phone, were in the upper deck behind the stage.) But I had a surprise for Scott.

This was also at the advent of Internet communication, so generally show setlists were unknown—except that I knew the exact order, having seen Rush just four days before, of course. I wasn’t going to say a word, though, no matter how much he asked. (This song was No. 4, the first new song.)

But while we sat in our awesome seats (Shani also was in attendance), waiting for Primus, the opening act, someone hit the wrong trigger on the soundboard and the rap in the middle of Roll the Bones came on over the PA—to much crowd approval.

I looked at Scott and laughed: Well, you know at least one of the songs they’re going to do now.

No comments:

Post a Comment