I was a late convert to Rush. Before I had massive exposure to 2112, Moving Pictures or even Fly by Night I was entranced by Presto while walking home from St. Joes, Spring 1990, perhaps 1991. I wasn’t even sure it was Rush at the time. The guys who did Tom Sawyer and Working Man are busting out acoustic guitars?
It has retained its lofty perch in my mind and heart and like all music that rests in such places it has evolved over time. “I’m not one to believe in magic/but I sometimes have a second sight” At one point in time this vibrated for me and I couldn’t really place it. Oddly enough I had two experiences at Rush shows that convinced me our brains are as much a great unknown as outer space and the ocean.
The first incident was in Rochester, New York, the Winter arena Vapor Trails tour. Greg, Matt, Mike and I had experienced the summer version at Darien Lake. We were all so blasted at the end of that one that my wife was holding me up by my belt loops. I couldn’t stand, but I was of good enough voice to scream “Play Presto!” at the top of my lungs…. So in Rochester I decided to eschew alcohol and just enjoy v7 c greenery. One of my chums joined me for a quick session. After two passes I got antsy, Danger Will Robinson antsy.
Me – we gotta go
Name redacted- nah man, you’re being paranoid
Me- no man, let’s go!
And we left… just as security entered. It was the most edgy rush feeling ever. No I don’t feel I can use it at will, nor do I attempt to nurture it, though I probably should. But I believe it is possible. So does my Brother in Law, who was there the second time.
Again, a Vapor Trails stop at an Indian Casino in Washington State. My wife, her sister and Jim, my brother in law. To get to the venue you had to walk through the casino. We passed a roulette table and I said “Hmph, I would’ve put some money on 19” as the dealer spun the wheel. Jim grabbed my arm in disbelief. “How did you know?” The hell if I know, though Jim eyed me like I had three eyes the rest of the night.
Yeah so while they were fleeting moments, they happened. Being extremely empathetic, sensitive has something to do with it, so I hypothesize, but who knows? I do know those lines feel personal now, when before they were abstract.
The rest of the song speaks to my struggle to have an impact on the world, in a micro sense, not macro. It encases my folly “I had a dream of the open water/I was swimming away out to sea/so deep I could never touch bottom/what a fool I used to be”, my promise, my growth, my short comings and my place in the world.
“If I could wave my magic wand
I’d set everybody free”