Updated: Jun 11, 2019
As many of you know, I was a musician in my previous life. I guess I still am, but I haven't done anything musical since moving to Montreal. I've barely gotten my basses out of their cases, much less try to play in a band. There are a lot of reasons for that which I won't bore you with, but when I heard that Geddy Lee was making a stop here on his book tour, I knew I'd be doing my instrument a disservice if I didn't go.
Who is Geddy Lee, you ask? If you don't already know, he's the vocalist and bassist for Rush. They're practically Canadian royalty, and one of Canada's most widely known musical exports. Yes, there's also Celine Dion (definitely Quebec royalty), Bryan Adams, Alanis Morissette and Michael Buble, but none quite like Rush. If you aren't familiar with Rush, you've undoubtedly heard "Tom Sawyer" and its iconic synth hook. And if not, go listen now. I've been a Rush fan since high school, so I couldn't pass on seeing one of my favorite bassists on his home turf.
Oh yes, the book. Geddy recently wrote a book called "Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book Of Bass" that exhaustively details his entire bass guitar collection. I'm not a vintage guitar collector, nor can I afford to be, but I love reading about that sort of thing. The ticket to the event included a copy of the book, and after a brief interview with the co-author, Geddy was scheduled to sign everyone's book. I'm not the kind of person that needs to meet my heroes, and I'm not an autograph seeker. But how could I say no to Geddy signing my book?
After waiting in line with some hardcore Rush-ophiles, I found my way inside the theatre. I'm pretty sure I was the only one in the place not wearing some sort of Rush clothing. Rush's first record came out the year I was born, so they've had 40+ years to accumulate a fan base that's unlike any other. Saying they're dedicated is an understatement. And these fans were maybe the most harcore sub-category: fans that care about hearing the singer talk about his bass collection. It's some next level nerd action that I don't experience very often in person. But here I was.
After a bit of listening to a Rush playlist (what else?) over the PA, Geddy finally came out with the book's co-author. They had a brief chat about his collection and how it started, then they allowed a few questions from the audience. The Q&A wasn't as painful as you'd expect, but there was a lot of "Hi Geddy, my name is X, and you've been a huge inspiration and influence/Rush was my first concert/you're the reason I play music, etc." These are not questions, but whatever.
Once the Q&A was done, the theatre staff issued some directions regarding the book signing process. I knew this part would be a train wreck, and it was. Nobody paid attention to the rules (shocker), and the insanely long line made me realize that the best tactic was to just wait it out in the balcony. The line actually moved fairly quickly, and once I had my turn, I thanked him for coming to Montreal as he signed my book. I wasn't really sure what else to say to the guy I'd been listening to for the past 30 years. Fortunately, no personalization was allowed except for your name, but I'm sure a lot of the fans were disappointed about that. There were also no posed photos allowed, so I don't have any pics. But the autographic evidence is below.
Even though it wasn't the kind of thing I usually do, I'm glad I went. It's maybe the most Canadian thing I've done so far. I told a musician friend back in the States about going, and he said "congrats - you've officially assimilated!"