Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson of Rush dine at Bern's before Tampa concert
When it comes to Rush fans, few that I've met are as passionate as Stuck in the '80s Tampa correspondent and Rubix Cubed frontman Chris Stainton (aka "Crockett"). So when I heard that he bumped into two of his heroes on Friday night in Tampa (they play the Gary Amp on Saturday night), I asked him to give us the full scoop. Here it is, with his suggested title: Fan Boy and The Snow Dog. (Again, only real Rush fans can appreciate that.)
Hi, I'm Crockett, and I'm a fan boy.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting my childhood and adulthood idol, Alex Lifeson, last night. I won't mention the restaurant's name, but Tampa folks can probably guess easily. It has great steaks and even better wine.
Rush guitarist at one table, and bassist/singer/keyboardist Geddy Lee at another, my head was on a swivel all night. My legs were glue, my breathing rapid and shallow, my palms sweaty, and I obviously hadn't had enough to drink to be able to say, "Hey, I'm your biggest fan."
As the bass player/singer/keyboardist of the Stuck in the '80s official cover band, Rubix Cubed, the band Rush is the entire reason I ever picked up a guitar and dared to dream.
I knew the boys were coming in, and had been made reservations a week earlier. It had been a long week of imagined conversations, much like Saturday Night Live's Ed Grimly had about Pat Sajak. Sleep was lacking, and my imagination raced all week. It struck me - what if my fantasy for 30 years about who these guys are is completely different than reality?
They are much shorter than I had imagined, but apart from that, not much. Alex Lifeson has to be one of the most gracious, charming kind, and magnanimous people in his profession. My daughter, Rubix Cubed's sometimes guest singer, Candy, and I were lucky enough to chat briefly with him, thank him for his generosity, and she scored a coup of a picture. Did we chat about music gear, my lifelong Rush obsession, or why they picked so many '80s songs on this tour? No. The brief and mundane conversation was about the restaurant, wine and a gift I sent him this summer that he actually got (and remembered).
Switching to Stage Left, when Geddy Lee entered the room, my table immediately fell silent. He sat down with the back of his chair almost touching this 30-something woman's chair. She turned around with eyes as wide as saucers. Said a "I am going to see your show tomorrow night" to Geddy, and got probably the best seat in the dining room. I learned later that it was her birthday, and she was down to Tampa specifically to see the show tonight at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Ampitheater. Happy Birthday, indeed. Geddy Lee was so very involved in his dinner and wine choices with friends that I chose to let him enjoy an excellent meal in peace. I had already met Alex, and was blown away.
One of my life goals is now complete. I can scratch that off my bucket list. I'll see you SIT80s nation folks tonight at the Rush show. Look for my review of the show tomorrow.