Reporting Brian Ives
The second the film introducing the Canadian trio started, the crowd went wild.The film included excerpts of the movie, I Love You Man, South Park and The Colbert Report. The latter got a particularly rousing reaction when Colbert asked the band, who had not been officially chosen to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at the time of the interview, “Will your next album be called This Is Bulls***?”
That summed it up for Rush. The band’s t-shirts outnumbered those of any of their fellow inductees in the audience by at least ten to one. From there, Foo Fighters Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins took the stage for a hilarious but reverent speech.
Grohl talked of the mysteries of rock, including the “Paul Is Dead” rumor, as well as “Elvis sightings, Jim Morrison sightings… Axl Rose sightings,” the audience loved that one. And the biggest mystery of all.,”When the f*** did Rush become cool?”
Grohl then recalled getting his first copy of 2112. “The entire side one was a seven part suite with roman numerals and titles like ‘The Temples Of Syrinx,’ and ‘Oracle: The Dream.’ This was far from KISS’ ’Love Gun’ and ‘Ladies Room’ this was something else, this was heavy s***. Then I saw what is maybe the most infamous band shot of all time: three grown men in kimonos and skin tight pants,” referencing the back cover of 2112. ” How tight? You can still find Alex Lifeson on cameltoe.org!”
Taylor continued by talking about Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and “f***** Neil Peart!”
“His drumming was just as musical and melodic as anything in the band,” he said. “Bringing the drums where they should be, the forefront of the band!”
Adding, “Not only did he did the most ripping drum solos in the world, he also wrote the lyrics!”
“Is there more?,” he laughed, looking over to his bandmate. “Dave wrote the speech.”
Grohl continued: “They did it from the ground up. No hype, no bulls***, without any help from the mainstream press – cough – Rolling Stone!” a not so subtle refernce to publisher and founder Jann Wenner, who is the co-founder of the Hall Of Fame and whose magazine never gave the band a lot of support.
Grohl then listed every one of Rush’s studio albumas, saying “Their influence is undeniable, their fan base only rivialed by the Grateful Dead, look at all of you out there!” The crowd went wild again.
“Their legacy is that of a band that stayed true to themselves no matter how uncool they may have seemed to anyone,” he said. “Rush are a band that indeed have balls!”
Taylor joked, “Alex showed us that!”
Grohl then wrapped up, “It is our honor to finally induct Rush into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.”
The soft spoken Peart started by saying,”We’ve been saying for a long time that this isn’t a big deal. Turns out. it kind of is!” Referencing the Foo Fighters, he said, “Theirs is the praise of the praiseworthy,” and said he was glad to have influenced them. He quoted Bob Dylan, saying, “The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do?”
He said that the inductees of the Rock Hall are like stars in the sky and “we are one tiny point of light, shaped like a maple leaf,” referencing their Canadian heritage.
Peart also thanked their families, “those who remain and those who are gone, ” a sad refernce to his late daughter, who in 1997 died in a car accident, and his late wife, who fell to cancer months later.
Peart also thanked Ray Daniels, their manager since day one, and said, “It is fitting that we recieve this honor as a working band in our 39th year.”
Geddy Lee was next thanking the audience. “This is a little overwhelming for a nice Jewish boy from Toronto,” he said. Lee then thanked “the most incredible, most dedicated, most passionate fanbase around the globe. The insistence of their voices has surely led to this moment. We share this honor with you.”
Alex Lifeson then made a speech that needs to be seen to be believed. It actually had no words, other than “blah,” and was a thing of comedic genius that will be spoken of for years to come. Start tweeting at HBO, demanding that they show it, uncut on their broadcast or at least on YouTube.
After that memorable speech, things got even weirder, as three men dressed as Rush – circa the album cover mentioned by Grohl earlier – performed 2112 ” Part I Overture.” The odd trio was really just Grohl on guitar, Hawkins on drums and Foo Fighters/Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz on bass playing in front of the band’s signature “man with star” logo. Midway through the song, they were joined by the actual members of Rush.
From there, the “fake” Rush left the stage, leaving Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart to perform their most famous jam, “Tom Sawyer” to an ecstatic crowd. They had a small version of their current stage set up with them including steampunk machinery and, for some reason, a working popcorn machine.
From there, Alex Lifeson ripped into one of the most recognizable riffs in hard rock, “Spirit of The Radio.” And with that, the audience had the moment they have been waiting years to see.
Rush is finally in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Hipsters and critics be damned.
Catch more from the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony when it airs Saturday May 18 at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.
Watch our recent Radio.com Inside Out episode on 2013’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction class, below.