Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rush and the Spirit of Radio

A buddy and I went to see Rush at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Sunday night. I saw them about 15 years ago at Riverbend in Cincinnati but was really looking forward to seeing them again because they'd be playing their best album in its entirety. Moving Pictures came out in 1981 right about the time I started paying attention to music (I was 10.) It contains their best known song, "Tom Sawyer," heavy use of synthesizer as well as Neil Peart's impeccable drumming. When it was released, Moving Pictures was all over the radio where I lived in western New York--probably because of its proximity to the band's hometown of Toronto. The show was fantastic and the band played for about three hours. No pictures because I forgot the camera in my car...what an idiot.

A Rush sticker from KSHE, a Rock station licensed to Crestwood, Missouri. This was to promote the band's 1996 Halloween-night show on the Test for Echo Tour in St. Louis. The piled rocks are the Inukshuk from the Test for Echo album cover but also features Sweet Meat, the pig which has been KSHE's mascot for decades.

The first song played Sunday night was "Spirit of Radio" which was written about Toronto's CFNY and uses their former slogan as the song's title. Here are the lyrics:

Begin the day
With a friendly voice,
A companion unobtrusive
Plays the song that's so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood.

Off on your way
Hit the open road,
There's magic at your fingers
For the Spirit ever lingers,
Undemanding contact
In your happy solitude.

Invisible airwaves crackle with life
Bright antenna bristle with the energy
Emotional feedback
On a timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price
Almost free

All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted,
It's really just a question
Of your honesty

One likes to believe
in the freedom of music,
But glittering prizes
And endless compromises
Shatter the illusion
Of integrity.

For the words of the profits
Are written on the studio wall,
Concert hall --
Echoes with the sounds...
Of salesmen.

CFNY was a Progressive/Alternative/Freeform/New Wave station in Toronto starting in the late 1970s. The above "sticker" is actually a three foot long car sunshield. I had to take a picture of it because it's too large to scan.

Today, CFNY is a much less adventurous Modern Rock station known as "102.1 The Edge."

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