Rush and Rivendell

Back in the day (and I’m talking about the early eighties) Rush fans like me used to get a lot of crap from rockers about Rush’s song “Rivendell” which was considered to be a very lame tune by people who listened to bands like AC/DC or Ted “Cat Scratch” Nugent. Every Tolkien fan I knew, however, loved “Rivendell.” The boys–Geddy, Neil and Alex–weren’t afraid to let their Middle-earth freak flag fly, and we loved them for it. The song was on the album Fly By Night (1975), which also featured the classic fantasy rock song “By-Tor & the Snow Dog” which my friends and I still belt out in our bad Geddy Lee voices when we’ve had a few pints. It’s been over 35 years since that album came out, and Rush is still going strong. My three childhood buddies, all of whom were Tolkien enthusiasts, are going to see Rush live with me in Seattle this November. And Rush’s new album is an awesome blend of speculative fiction storytelling, genius arrangements, and kick ass musicianship. Rush is an inspiration. They’re doing some of their best work as they’re heading into their sixties. Maybe they’re like long-lived Hobbits and they’ll still be around when they’re in their hundreds, just like Bilbo (who left Rivendell for the last time when he was 131 years old).

We feel the coming of a new day

Darkness gives way to light a new way

Stop here for a while until the world

The world calls you away

Yet you know I’ve had the feeling

Standing with my senses reeling

This is the place to grow old ’til

I reach my final day

–From “Rivendell”