That Time I Met Alex Lifeson Through a Chain Link Fence - This Kind of Thing Only Happens to Me
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Yep, it happened.
Saturday, September 15, 2012 - RUSH was playing the United Center in Chicago. Was I going?
Why wasn't I going?
I had a ticket to another show.
Yeah, it's true. I love Rush, I mean, I LOVE RUSH. I've been fortunate enough to see them live six times (twice in 2002, once in 2004, once in 2007, once in 2008 and finally in 2010) - I grew up listening to Rush albums with my dad (they're his favorite band ever), so missing a Rush show was a tough choice.
It's ok though, the show I was going to was Riot Fest a multi stage, multi day festival at that time held in Humboldt Park in Chicago. Now, to get to Humboldt Park, I had to drive past....you guessed it, the United Center. So I wasn't going to see Rush, but I could at least see where they were, maybe offer up a "damn, sorry I'm not here today."
I turned off 290 onto Damen and I'm passing the UC. There's a small parking lot, which is private for players and coaches when there's a Bulls or Blackhawks game, that backs up to Damen and who do I see there, walking by himself? Yes indeed, ALEX LIFESON.
I think to myself "I'm NEVER going to get this opportunity again!" and "maybe he'll think I'm a psycho" but whatever, I'm going for it. I pull my car over, there's a small driveway that grants access to the parking lot and the back of the arena, but it's fenced off, so I just stop my car there, hop out and run over to the fence.
I call out Alex's name and he looks (!!!!!). I give him the 'ol "come here, come here!" arm wave-thing, and since he's out walking (and because he's protected by a fence [lol]), he obliges.
Alex FREAKING Lifeson walks over to me and we begin to talk. I tell him I'm a huge fan, I grew up listening to Rush, it's an honor to meet him blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
He asks me "are you coming to the show tonight?" and I answer "no, but my parents are." and he goes "that's not the first time I've heard that." and we laugh. He asks why I'm not coming, and I tell him I'm going to see the Descendents (who I've never seen before), the Dropkick Murphys (who I've never seen before) and Rise Against, plus GWAR and like...40 other bands, plus I had my ticket in hand before the Rush show was even announced, so yeah.
I told him I didn't want to take up too much of his time, and I thanked him for taking a minute to talk with me. We said our goodbyes and I went on my way. What an awesome guy.
The day just got better.