Far and Wide: Bring That Horizon to Me!

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9781770413481: Far and Wide: Bring That Horizon to Me!

35 concerts. 17,000 motorcycle miles. Three months. One lifetime.

In May 2015, the veteran Canadian rock trio Rush embarked on their 40th anniversary tour, R40. For the band and their fans, R40 was a celebration and, perhaps, a farewell. But for Neil Peart, each tour is more than just a string of concerts, it’s an opportunity to explore backroads near and far on his BMW motorcycle. So if this was to be the last tour and the last great adventure, he decided it would have to be the best one, onstage and off.

This third volume in Peart’s illustrated travel series shares all-new tales that transport the reader across North America and through memories of 50 years of playing drums. From the scenic grandeur of the American West to a peaceful lake in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains to the mean streets of Midtown Los Angeles, each story is shared in an intimate narrative voice that has won the hearts of many readers.

Richly illustrated, thoughtful, and ever-engaging, Far and Wide is an elegant scrapbook of people and places, music and laughter, from a fascinating road and a remarkable life.

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About the Author:

Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist of the legendary rock band Rush and the author of Ghost Rider, The Masked Rider, Traveling Music, Roadshow, Far and Away, Far and Near, and, with Kevin J. Anderson, Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


Begin as you mean to go on” is an old English expression that comments amusingly on this photograph. I am poised to go onstage to start the second set of a show on the Rush fortieth anniversary tour, R40, in the summer of 2015. The glowing lights at my waist are the radio pack that drives my in-ear monitors, which will fill my head with musical information and consume my interior world” for the next ninety minutes or so. The blazing lights ahead of me are an arena filled with something like ten thousand people. The heat and light of their joyous excitement is an utter contrast to my cold fire of determination and will as it should be. It is my job to reward their anticipation to be all they expect and more.


Beginning as I would go on, my energy is tightly coiled in anticipation of that challenge before me. Even the first song in that second set, Tom Sawyer,” remained a mental and physical ordeal after thirty-five years and thousands of performances. In the reverse-chronology setlist we followed for that tour, each song led back in time, album to album, year to year. Thus I would have to replicate drum parts conceived and executed when I was a child barely into my twenties. As a harsh-but-fair critic (like myself) might describe how I played the drums back then: More energy than skill; more ideas than technique; more influences than originality; more enthusiasm than accuracy.” Since then, with the benefit of many years of practice, dedication, and the guidance of three phenomenal teachers Don George, Freddie Gruber, and Peter Erskine I have balanced those scales a little, at least.


And at almost sixty-three years of age, I was glad I could still do all that bring the energy and enthusiasm of my twenties to the somewhat improved technique and accuracy of maturity. But . . . it was a battle a battle against time, in more than one sense.


Another edge to that waiting-offstage mindset was a visceral awareness that so much can go wrong, human and technical, in one’s immediate future. And in front of a lot of people. Performers of every kind might define their audience as strangers with expectations.” During the uncertain heat of live performance, I fear human errors, and I fear electronic letdowns. As much as ever in my life, I want every show to be good, but can never be sure, or even confident, that it will be. In that pre-show mindset, I almost sympathize with athletes who pray before a game, or Grammy winners who thank the Creator” for giving them a trophy. (A friend’s Jewish grandmother once said, What do you get when you get old? A trophy!” She meant atrophy.”)


So when the houselights go down and I dash through that curtain and up the stairs to the stage, I am tense with focus and uncertainty though equally focused on not displaying tension or uncertainty.


People sometimes say things like, You look so relaxed when you’re playing the drums so in command.” I can only laugh and say, Well, I sure wish it felt that way!”


Begin as you mean to go on” can also refer to my intention to take a cue from the R40 tour’s reverse-chronology setlist, and open this story with the final show. If I am going to try to tell something about a forty-one-year relationship with Alex and Geddy, and a separate relationship with the music we have made together over those decades, it will be necessary to do some leaping about in time. So why not start at the Los Angeles Forum on August 1, 2015, the final show of the R40 tour . . .


We had played in that building many times (twenty-four, according to a plaque on the wall there so now twenty-five), but the last time had been two nights on the Test for Echo tour, in late 1996. After that the building’s ownership had fluctuated for a while: it was one of the first to bear a corporate name (such shall be nameless here fight the power, fight the branding), then was owned by a church for several years. For complicated and tragic reasons, we did not return to perform again in Los Angeles until 2002, and that time we tried playing at the new mega-arena, named after a chain of business-supply stores. We didn’t like that cavernous space, but later enjoyed playing the Hollywood Bowl and Universal Amphitheater (now demolished for a Harry Potter themed ride at the adjacent amusement park) a few times, and last tour at the Finnish Telecommunications Company Theater downtown.


Before the Time Machine tour in 2010 we had planned to do our production rehearsals and first show at the Forum, but there were worrisome rumors of imminent bankruptcy and the possibility of our equipment being impounded inside. So we set up our production and rehearsed in a film studio soundstage instead, the old Paramount Studios (now Sony) in Culver City.


On the next page we see double-nought spy Bubba (my longtime nickname among many friends, first applied by Andrew MacNaughtan, our late photographer, assistant, and friend, who also introduced me to my wife, Carrie, in 1999) and my Aston Martin DB5 in front of the Garbo Building. (Greta Garbo is mentioned in one of the Bond books, maybe From Russia, With Love, when the face of one of the Bond girls” is compared to Garbo’s.)


The Los Angeles Forum was developed by a Canadian entrepreneur, Jack Kent Cooke, who was born in Hamilton, Ontario, almost exactly forty years before I first drew breath in that same town. (The nearest hospital to our family dairy farm near Hagersville.) The Forum was built in Canada’s centennial year, 1967, the same year the old Philadelphia Spectrum went up two buildings that always felt alike to me in our early days. There was something about those two venues I don’t think we ever had a bad show in them. They were small enough (considered as arenas) to sound good when they were full of people; the audiences were energetic and enthusiastic, and we always seemed to play well.


Another connection in the 1980s I rode my bicycle to both of those venues several times, and remembered the neighborhoods on the way. From Philly’s venerable downtown through ritzy/quaint Rittenhouse Square, then through streets of tidy working-class row houses down into military housing farther south. In Los Angeles, pedaling downhill from West Hollywood on La Cienega past commercial districts, body shops, and bungalows with iron grilles over doors and windows. Then up and over a bleak hill with nodding oil wells one of many oilfields under the city and down to Inglewood, which was said to be dangerous.” That was never a problem on a bicycle in Harlem; downtown Detroit; the East End of London; or Inglewood, California, I was always seen as a harmless crank.


This time (everything so different now that I live in Los Angeles) I took a car. With a driver. For there would be another party after this show, naturally enough but it was the third party that week. That was about three years’ worth of parties for this Bubba. But it had to be borne, obviously. Just added to the pressure I was under.


To me, first, twentieth, or last show, this was still just a show.” Or, more accurately, it was just still a show. Meaning I felt no sense of lightness, relief, or doneness.” Not yet. There was still a long, hard, and always uncertain job to do.


-


A few days earlier, friend Stewart Copeland had emailed me:



You had better jam your hat on tight next Saturday because me and every other drummer in town will be coming down for a last chance to cop your licks at the Forum show.


Can’t wait! I know it will be legendary and the bards will sing of it for generations. I’m polishing up my air drumsticks even now . . .



That was very sweet of him the praise of the praiseworthy” from a man and drummer I had long admired. I wrote back to him:



On the bus outta Phoenix, heading for a Château Walmart in Pasadena, where we’ll park for the last hour or two, then have breakfast and unload the motorcycles and ride


Home!


In regard to your message, all’s I can say is, *Gulp.*


You know it’s only the last show of the last tour, and with all the Judges” in attendance.


Well, I’ll just do what I do every night try not to suck!



Stewart’s reply was classic:



Laaaast show?! I had better get a Late Nite permit.


And please do, for all the children, suck just a little bit.



Well, of course I did suck just a little bit, here and there human after all but mainly played pretty well. No egregious errors, all of us made it to the end of Monkey Business” together (a part that had plagued us during that third run of shows), and I was pleased enough with the final statement of my solo’s odyssey. Its improvised narrative had grown throughout the tour, but as with everything else, I could never be sure it was going to work.” Stewart, Chad Smith, Taylor Hawkins, Doane Perry, and probably a few other drummers were in the house and many other friends and family, including wife Carrie and five-year-old daughter Olivia.


That night violinist Jonny Dinklage, veteran of the previous tour’s Clockwork Angels String Ensemble, joined us once more for Losing It,” as he had for two shows in the New York area. Recorded in 1982 for our Signals album, it was performed live for the first time this tour, but only a handful of times including with original violin soloist on the record, Ben Mink, in Toronto and Vancouver. (A young Jonathan Dinklage, growing up in New Jersey, heard that recording and was inspired to play violin.)


After playing that song with Ben a couple of times at soundcheck in Toronto, he remarked to me that he never paid much attention to lyrics, but that this song really resonated for him now. I think all of us must have felt that, in our own ways.


In the song’s two verses, an aging dancer and writer face their diminishing, twilight talents. The dancer was inspired by a character in the movie The Turning Point, while the writer was Ernest Hemingway. Just before his suicide in 1961 he spent days staring at a blank piece of paper in his typewriter. He was trying to compose a few lines, a simple regretful decline” to an invitation to the Kennedy White House. When he couldn’t even do that, he got out the shotgun. ( The sun will rise no more” comes from Hemingway’s first big novel, The Sun Also Rises.)



The dancer slows her frantic pace


In pain and desperation


Her aching limbs and downcast face


Aglow with perspiration


Stiff as wire, her lungs on fire


With just the briefest pause


Then flooding through her memory


The echoes of old applause


She limps across the floor


And closes her bedroom door


The writer stares with glassy eyes


Defies the empty page


His beard is white, his face is lined


And streaked with tears of rage


Thirty years ago, how the words would flow


With passion and precision


But now his mind is dark and dulled


By sickness and indecision


And he stares out the kitchen door


Where the sun will rise no more




After fifty years of devotion to hitting things with sticks, I would rather avoid any sense of losing it” by simply setting it aside and moving onto other interests. You have to know when you’re at the top of your particular mountain, I guess. Maybe not the summit, but as high as you can go.


In relation to both summits and Ernest Hemingway’s story The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” in September 1987, right around my thirty-fifth birthday, I joined a five-day hike up and down Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. At 19,341 feet, I stood at Uhuru (Freedom) Peak with two of the guides and a German university student, Dieter, while an English student, Domenick, took the photo. Domenick also contributed the bottle of whisky in the foreground, with which we all toasted our achievement.


Since then I have climbed many

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Descripción Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Thirty-five concerts. 17,000 motorcycle miles. Three months. One lifetime.In May 2015, the veteran Canadian rock trio Rush embarked on their fortieth anniversary tour, R40. For the band and their fans, R40 was a celebration and, perhaps, a farewell. But for Neil Peart, each tour is more than just a string of concerts, it’s an opportunity to explore backroads near and far on his BMW motorcycle. So if this was to be the last tour and the last great adventure, he decided it would have to be the best one, onstage and off.This third volume in Peart’s illustrated travel series shares all-new tales that transport the reader across North America and through memories of fifty years of playing drums. From the scenic grandeur of the American West to a peaceful lake in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains to the mean streets of Midtown Los Angeles, each story is shared in an intimate narrative voice that has won the hearts of many readers.Richly illustrated, thoughtful, and ever-engaging, Far and Wide is an elegant scrapbook of people and places, music and laughter, from a fascinating road ? and a remarkable life. Nº de ref. de la librería 5556240

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Descripción ECW Press. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 312 pages. Thirty-five concerts. 17, 000 motorcycle miles. Three months. One lifetime. In May 2015, the veteran Canadian rock trio Rush embarked on their fortieth anniversary tour, R40. For the band and their fans, R40 was a celebration and, perhaps, a farewell. But for Neil Peart, each tour is more than just a string of concerts, its an opportunity to explore backroads near and far on his BMW motorcycle. So if this was to be the last tour and the last great adventure, he decided it would have to be the best one, onstage and off. This third volume in Pearts illustrated travel series shares all-new tales that transport the reader across North America and through memories of fifty years of playing drums. From the scenic grandeur of the American West to a peaceful lake in Quebecs Laurentian Mountains to the mean streets of Midtown Los Angeles, each story is shared in an intimate narrative voice that has won the hearts of many readers. Richly illustrated, thoughtful, and ever-engaging, Far and Wide is an elegant scrapbook of people and places, music and laughter, from a fascinating road and a remarkable life. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Nº de ref. de la librería 9781770413481

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Descripción Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Hardcover. In May 2015, Rush embarked on their 40th anniversary tour, R40. For the band and their fans, R40 was a celebration and, perhaps, a farewell. But for Neil Peart, each tour is more than just.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 312 pages. 1.017. Nº de ref. de la librería 9781770413481

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Descripción ECW Press,Canada, Canada, 2016. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 35 concerts. 17,000 motorcycle miles. Three months. One lifetime.In May 2015, the veteran Canadian rock trio Rush embarked on their 40th anniversary tour, R40. For the band and their fans, R40 was a celebration and, perhaps, a farewell. But for Neil Peart, each tour is more than just a string of concerts, it?s an opportunity to explore backroads near and far on his BMW motorcycle. So if this was to be the last tour and the last great adventure, he decided it would have to be the best one, onstage and off.This third volume in Peart?s illustrated travel series shares all-new tales that transport the reader across North America and through memories of 50 years of playing drums. From the scenic grandeur of the American West to a peaceful lake in Quebec?s Laurentian Mountains to the mean streets of Midtown Los Angeles, each story is shared in an intimate narrative voice that has won the hearts of many readers.Richly illustrated, thoughtful, and ever-engaging, Far and Wide is an elegant scrapbook of people and places, music and laughter, from a fascinating road #151; and a remarkable life. Nº de ref. de la librería AAT9781770413481

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