Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.
How does a band work up a setlist for their next tour when the guitarist doesn’t want to use the same guitar two songs in a row, the drummer doesn’t want the same tempo twice in a row, and the vocalist/bassist doesn’t want to spend too much time behind the keyboards? Apparently, when you have 17 studio albums across 30 years to choose from, you can still come up with a 3 hour show that satisfies all the members’ wishes and makes the fans happy, too. These kind of behind-the-scenes tidbits kept me interested throughout this story of Neil Peart’s motorcycle journey during Rush’s R30 tour in 2004. He traveled almost exclusively by motorcycle between each show, taking the smallest and remotest possible roads, hitting as many US national parks as possible, and taking notes on his experiences and observations along the way.
Unfortunately, he did not keep very detailed notes during his North American journey, as he was apparently too exhausted after traveling all day and performing that night to note much more than his various aches and pains, the traffic, mileage, meals, and how well he felt he performed behind the drums. He does sprinkle the narrative with his observations during the show, recollections of past tours and events, and crazy fan behavior. The European journey was far more interesting, with more detailed descriptions of the scenery and people he encountered.
I think it helped that this was on audio, although Brian Sutherland’s reading was fairly uninspired, because the relatively dull North American section required no reading effort from me. I don’t think I’d recommend this book for non-Rush fans, or non-motorcycle fans. Truthfully, this was a 3 star read, but I added an extra star because Rush.