Old Guys on the Rocks.


Twenty three years ago I saw Rush in concert at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.  I was twenty two years old and had enough energy to stand and shout through the entire concert then go to work the next day.  I remember that the concert was great, but I don’t remember being able to see anything.  We weren’t high enough to be in the nose bleed section, but were too far away to see anything but hands in the air, rhythmically waving back and forth, index and little finger extended.  The devil you say… 

That night, if you asked me if I would be going to see rush in concert when I was my Dads age I would have laughed.

I saw Rush at Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado Last night.  Ha.  The whole place will filled with guys my age; (my Dads age 23 years ago) I don’t even want to think how old Neil, Geddy, and Alex are!  Red Rocks is arguably the best venue for a Rush Concert, the atmosphere was perfect, the evening was cool with just a trace of rain, and occasional lighting flashes beyond the stage highlighted the atmosphere.

The audience was well behaved, buts that’s understandable.  Most were my age and had to climb the stairs to get there.  I don’t know if it was planed this way or not, but they didn’t check the tickets for authenticity until to top of the stairs.  I feel sorry for the poor bastard that got bad tickets and have to be turned away only to head back down.  There were a lot of people stopped at landings huffing and puffing trying to catch their breath.  Most were smokers trying to finish their beer before having to toss it out at the entrance.  No beverages were allowed to be brought into the concert, but smoking was ok.  The guy checking the tickets said that it was because someone might toss a glass bottle at the band.  Later that evening a woman was selling beer in the bottle for $7.50 from an ice chest she was dragging around the stands.  There were enough different types of thing being smoked to add quite the distinct odor to the crowd.  Kind of a beer, pot, cigar, cigarette, old spice sent in the air.  Soon after the concert started it began to rain.  A good kind of rain, like a little wimpy rain from verga that didn’t quite evaporate.  It had a cleansing effect, like the air after a thunderstorm.


Parts of the concert were like a trip through time.  Rush did a great job playing a mix of old and new music.  The audience was likewise doing a good job or representing old and new.  Not so much in age, as the vast majority of people there were my age, but in keeping with the times. 

Most people seem to follow one of three styles. 

There were the normal everyday Joes you see in starbucks stopping for a double mocha late’ before going to the office, usually with a cell phone plastered to his ear. 

Then there is the same as above but trying not to show it by wearing a Rush T shirt one size too small, drinking beer, shouting too loud, and attempting to dance to YYZ. 

And lastly there were the real stoners sitting in the stands, smoking their hippy lettuce, and grooving to the light show.  Only about twenty five percent of the audience was women.  They can be subdivided into the same groups as the men, except there were a scattering of Trophy wives in the front row. 

I am sure there were exceptions.  There always is.  I am simply trying to paint a mental image.


Somehow the designers of Red Rocks managed to make getting to the arena up-hill both ways.  For those who haven’t been there, the layout is quite devious.  We parked the car and walked down a long sloping hill to the entrance. Once there, it is a climb up many many flights of stone steps. 

The staff checks the tickets, and then up more steps.  Once in front of the stage, there are yet again more steps to get to our seats.  We were fortunate,  only 14 rows from the stage it could have been another 80 more steps to the cheap seats.  We were just to the right of center about a hundred feet from Geddy, I couldn’t ask for anything more.  I was also close enough to see how old the band was.  When did this happen?  Rock stars are supposed to be timeless.  Oh well, mirrors are a bitch.  They reflect reality, and so do seats close to the stage.  When the concert was over we were looking forward to a nice leisurely walk down the stairs to the car.  That’s when we remembered that it’s up hill from the bottom of the steps to the parking lot, about a quarter of a mile up hill to the parking lot.


Red Rocks is a great place to see a concert, and Rush was a great show to watch.  I honestly cant think of another music group I would pay to see in person.  The show was soo good it was worth coming to work with only four hours sleep, aching knees and ringing ears.  (I did wear ear plugs but the sound gets into your bones.) 


On the way home we had to stop for chocolate milk.  This is a serious tradition with Eric.  He insisted that everyone drink chocolate milk before going home.


At first it was nasty way to end the evening.  Putting chocolate milk on top of three beers, chips and dip, and a bacon, blue-cheese, black pepper, seemed hazardous.  But I awoke this morning with no grumbles, just a lot of grogginess and an powerful desire to ditch work.  It was a challenge to go to work but I had to do it.

I have to show my kids that it is ok to go out and have fun, but its important to go to work and zombie around the office all day.  Moral fiber.  I also had to prove to myself that I can still do some things that I did when I was in my twenty’s. 


Moral fiber helps to keep me regular.



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3 thoughts on “Old Guys on the Rocks.

  1. ‘Seeing a concert at Red Rocks’ has always been on my list of Things to Die Before I Die. All those videos and CD’s: So-and-so at Red Rocks. It just looked fantastic. (Except for John Tesh)You can’t beat outdoor venues.

    My junior and senior years of high school (15-16 years ago) were my Rush years. Those tapes (not CD) was worn out! I still say Neil is one of the best rock drummers ever.

  2. That sounds like a blast!

    Last year, I got to have one of my biggest dreams come true. There is a list I keep. Bands that I wold kill to see but never will have the chance.
    On it are Talking Heads, The Doors, Johnny Lee Hooker, The Ramones…. And… The Police.

    Last year The Police reformed and went on tour and my oldest, closest friend (I call him The Doctor), got us tickets to see them live at Fenway Park.

    What – A – BLAST!

    Glad you had fun! If I was there, I’d have gone with ya!

    Turkish Prawn

  3. I also caught the Police last year…at Churchill Downs (home of the KY Derby). Very cool show!

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