Monday, August 23, 2010

Rash, The Time Machine

Last night I had the pleasure of spending an evening at Riverport Amphitheater (yes, I still consider it "Riverport Amphitheater", not "Verizon Wireless Shameless Promotion Palace") to take in the wonderful music of Rush.

It was just about 15 years ago that I made my one and only trip to see the same band perform on the "Test for Echo" tour. I became a Rush fan in college when my roommate stuck in Chronicles, Disc 2 and pushed "random". I'd heard a few Rush songs before--mostly Tom Sawyer and a few songs from "Hold your Fire", but they never really cemented in my brain. But the song that came on in my dorm room that day instantly stuck with me, and I had to hear more.


It only snowballed from there, and I was very much overjoyed when I had the opportunity to see Rush for the first time. I've never been an avid concert attendee and, while I definitely enjoyed the show, I don't think I appreciated it nearly as much as I could have. I left the show satisfied, but that was about it.

This time was a much different experience. From the beginning of "Spirit of Radio" to the end of "Working Man", I was sucked in. I've listened to so much Rush for so long, it almost felt as if I was just hanging out with three friends. They took me through all of these songs that I've listened to for years, telling their stories and wowing me with their unbeatable talents. Watching each one of them play their instruments is like watching the pinnacle of skill, and they make it look effortless. It was at this concert that I realized that these three guys are my musical idols. I wish I could do what these guys do--and I don't even play drums or bass. But they make me want to. And now I want to pick up my lonely guitar in the corner and just start playing.

And they really know how to put on a show. There is no opening band--there never is. Rush puts their hearts and souls into each show, and they stick it out for three and a half hours. The tickets may not be cheap but Rush makes sure you get more than your money's worth by entertaining you with humor, visuals and, of course, badass music. I left the concert both satisfied and yet still wanting some more. I listened to all of my Rush albums randomized both on the way to the concert and on the way home.

A much different experience indeed.

And the best part--I finally got to see and hear "Subdivisions", performed live, right in front of me.

After that, the concert could have ended and I would have filed out of the venue with the masses, wandered to the car, and driven home in the dead of night, listening to Rush...all with a big fat smile on my face.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thundergeeks, HO!

There are very few places I've visited or hung out where I truly felt I was "around my own kind", for lack of a better term. "Sure," you're thinking, "he's probably an alien and he's uneasy in most Earthling situations." If that is what you're thinking, then I need your full address because my mission here on Earth cannot be compromised by some snot-nosed little know-it-all who has seen through my disguise and--er...nevermind.

I recently returned home from Gen Con Indy and, I must say, I had a total blast. It's a place where you can go, walk into the middle of a huge crowd and yell "Pokemon sucks!" and people don't look at you funny. Sure, you get lots of agreement as the usual "No, YOU SUCK!" responses, but the point is that everyone knows exactly what you are talking about. You can talk about who would win in a fight: Thor or the Hulk, or which monster you'd rather fight: a dragon or a cybernetic aboleth-werewolf hybrid hepped up on goofballs.

Not that I have any experience with any of that.

Gen Con is a place where you can walk past Darth Vader, Tinkerbell, and a Big Daddy from Bioshock all while watching people dressed up, dancing. I didn't recognize who they were supposed to be, nor did I understand why they were dancing, but they were relatively entertaining.

You can play in a Call of Cthulhu game in the morning, restore the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon, and then delve into a dungeon in the evening. You can stroll around a gigantic exhibition hall, pilot a battlemech, or walk through a life-sized dungeon.

It's a whirlwind of hunger, caffeine overdose, lack of sleep, gaming, gaming, more gaming and, when that's all over...more gaming.

Gen Con is a place where you can play new games, play old games, or even stumble upon that hidden gem you didn't even know existed. It's where you can watch a screening of "Alien vs. Ninja" or sit in front of anime all night, even if you don't understand what the hell is going on. Though, due to lack of sleep, there is a good chance it might actually make sense.

It's big. It's fun. It's a bit aromatic sometimes, so make sure to take a shower...please.

And now that I've returned from this gamegasm, I'm gonna go play some Starcraft 2.