I think we were all expecting it for quite some time now. It had been hinted at for months, and then members of the band were contradicting each other in the media… One second saying “Yeah, we’re not gonna tour anymore.” and then the next saying “Well don’t jump to conclusions – we might not be done yet!”
But yeah, it’s official.
— billboard (@billboard) March 9, 2016
While I wasn’t surprised by this, I was a little disappointed. Not in the band themselves, because I get it – as you get older, your body doesn’t work the way it used to… And I certainly wouldn’t want my line of work to leave me feeling sore all over after a shift. Being a drummer who has considerably less experience and proficiency than Neil Peart, I’ve felt firsthand the punishment a session on drums can put on your body. So no, I’m not disappointed in them. I’m mostly disappointed in myself, for not having gone to see them on that last tour. My friend Ben had a ticket for me and everything, but as it turned out, I was in Montebello, Quebec for Amnesia Rockfest when Rush played Toronto last year, and I wouldn’t be able to make it to the show.
I had a great time at Rockfest, don’t get me wrong… But if I had known Rush wouldn’t be touring anymore… I might have given that show a second thought. But I’ve been lucky enough to see them a handful of times, inlcuding 5 years ago on the Time Machine Tour when they played Moving Pictures start to finish, and that was pretty awesome.
Now obviously, nobody will ever truly replace Rush, but there’s at least one group of dudes who could do their music justice – and then some: Dream Theater.
‘That Metal Show’ Season 14 Starts With Rush’s Geddy Lee + Dream Theater’s John Petrucci (Feb. 21 at 9PM ET/PT) pic.twitter.com/Na6n6hwwom
— Dream Theater ZONE (@ourdreamtheater) February 6, 2015
Dream Theater and Rush are contemporaries in the progressive rock scene – both held in very high regard. That being said, Rush has been around and releasing albums more than a decade longer than DT, which would lead me to believe that Lerxst, Dirk and The Professor were probably pretty influential to John Petrucci and his band of merry minstrels. I mean, hell, their singer James LaBrie is even Canadian, born in the bustling Metropolis (part 1?) of Penetanguishene. You name one Canadian rock musician since the 70’s who wasn’t in some way, shape or form influenced by Rush, and I’ll still disagree that it’s possible.
Dream Theater has been known to do covers of bands that they’re big fans of, or were rather influential to them as a band. There are plenty of DT covers floating around the internet of songs by bands like Iron Maiden, Yes, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and even The Beatles. You can actually find a whole bunch of their covers HERE – and yes, there’s a couple Rush covers in there.
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience Dream Theater live – although I wasn’t hardcore enough a fan to know all the new material they were playing, I had a great time just being blown away by the virtuosity of each of the band’s members. If I were to see them in Toronto again, part of me hopes that they’d throw at least one Rush cover into their set – because they’re known for doing a few. In fact, the whole point of me writing this blog was to share a couple of them with you. First and foremost is their cover of The Necromancer, from Caress of Steel. If you’ve ever seen Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, you’d know that this album was almost it for Rush. The album sales weren’t great, the tour wasn’t going well… If it weren’t for the monster success of their next album, 2112, that may have been it for Rush.
I discovered my dad’s vinyl copy of Caress of Steel in the basement at a young age, and quickly came to enjoy The Necromancer. If you’ve never heard it, here it is:
And now, the cover – which stays pretty true to the original, with the exception of a little bit more guitar noodling (as is John Petrucci’ style). If you’re a Rush fan like me, this will be a pleasure for you to watch:
And Part 2:
The video and audio quality of those videos make them look as though they might have been recorded in the 90’s… But I couldn’t say for sure. One thing IS for sure – nobody can hit those high notes like Geddy. Not even Geddy, anymore.
Oh, and that suspicion I had about the band being into Rush is pretty much confirmed with the start of their cover of Jacob’s Ladder (Audio only):
How about this fan-shot footage of Dream Theater’s gig in Toronto back in August 2009? For the encore, they covered Rush’s The Camera Eye.
Or how about Cygnus and the Sea Monster? They’re a supergroup made up of DT drummer Mike Portnoy, guitarist Paul Gilbert (of Mr. Big and Racer X), and bassist Sean Malone – a session bassist known for lots of diverse work. This is their cover of YYZ, complete with drum solo in the same spot as Neil’s from Exit… Stage Left.
Given that there’s precedent for it, I really would not be surprised if Dream Theater played a Rush cover or two next time they’re in Toronto.
And hey, since we’re on the topic… Want to improve your guitar playing skills? You should take John Petrucci’s Psycho Exercises!
Remember kids, if you want to get real good at guitar, you need a diet of small mammals. Small mammals are good for the hands.
These are all obviously parody videos, but they’ve made me laugh for years and to be honest, I’ve just been looking for an excuse to share it with you. I guess Rush’s announcement that they’re no longer touring provided the perfect opportunity.