Sometimes you think things have gone horribly wrong, but then you find out everything’s worked out for the best. I had one of those experiences this past weekend. I’d found out Rush was recording their performance in Cleveland for a new DVD/Blu-ray, and after I got shut out of good seats in Baltimore the following week, tried for a good seat in Cleveland – and got one in the fourth row, best I’ve gotten without an auction. So I made my plans, used airline miles to book a hotel, made hotel and dinner reservations, and was looking forwards to it.
The night before the trip, I stayed up very late (as I often do before trips), puttering around, finishing taxes, etc. But Jill was not going with me and waking up at the same time, and I was awoken not by my alarm, but by Jill asking me when my flight was. I sat up, looked at the clock, and realized my flight was in twenty minutes – not enough time to get to the airport, let alone get through security. I dashed downstairs, and got on the computer and the phone, trying to see what options I had. But all direct flights were full, and a transfer might put me there too late.
The last option was driving – it was almost seven hours according to Google. But I didn’t want to miss it, and packed the car with lots of music and hit the road. I’m not a huge fan of long drives, but the drive up through Maryland and Pennsylvania was pretty nice. I only stopped twice, but didn’t get to my hotel until a little after 4PM, a little over six hour drive. By the time I checked in and got to my room, it was 4:45, and I had a dinner reservation at 5.
Luckily Crop Bistro was only a five minute walk away, and I got there early enough to read the reviews and get an idea of what I wanted. The Old Figgy cocktail was fig and bacon infused bourbon, which paired perfectly with the Cherry Bomb, a wonton-wrapped tomato stuffed with pepper jack cheese and chorizo sausage. The chicken and waffles were amazing, and I finished with the Pretzel Un-Logic, a chocolate cream pie with a pretzel crust and malted whipped cream on top. A fabulous way to relax after a long drive, then a short break at the hotel before heading over to the arena.
I wasn’t the only one to travel, I heard of a number of people who flew over from Europe. The mood was pretty excited, but when the lights went out, it got crazy loud. I thought when I saw Rush in Canada that would have been the most excited audience, but I was surrounded by diehards.
The show itself was great. Rush often plays the same set for an entire tour, and there were no changes Saturday night, but every song was greeted with cheers, and wild applause at the finish. The cameras seem mostly pointed at the stage, I only noticed some pointing our way during “Vital Signs” and “2112”. The energy may have sagged slightly during the first set, but playing the entire Moving Pictures album during the second kept things energetic the rest of the night, and when Geddy told us “Best. Audience. Ever.” at the end, we couldn’t disagree. It marked my 20th Rush show and my favorite yet.
The next day I slept in, both to catch up on sleep and avoid the severe storms expected to sweep towards the east coast. I was happy to find that the breakfast buffet was included with whatever package I’d bought. I celebrated Record Store Day at the best indie music shop, stopped by the best comics shop, then hit the road. There were some intense storms right after I left Cleveland, but subsided and I saw a mixture of sun and clouds for a while.
I stopped at Primanti Bros. near Pittsburgh for a Pitts-Burger Cheese Steak (kind of a meatloaf sandwich stuffed with fries and coleslaw), then kept going. It was only when I neared Maryland on 70 that I caught up to the storms, just missing the tornado watches in the area and getting steady rain the rest of the way home. My car did really well on mileage, averaging about 44MPG (and a high of 48), and was fairly comfortable for its first road trip.
The next day I looked it up and found out my flight home I would have taken got canceled, so didn’t feel quite as bad about missing my flight there, plus I got to do things I couldn’t have done otherwise. And I had a good time on what is undoubtedly my last solo trip for some time.