For thirty years, drummer, author, and songwriter Neil Peart had wanted to write a book about “the biggest journey of all in my restless existence: the life of a touring musician.” Finally, the right time, and the right tour . . .
In the summer of 2004, after three decades, twenty gold albums, and thousands of performances spanning four continents, the band Rush embarked on a celebratory 30th Anniversary World Tour. The “R30” tour traveled to nine countries, where the band performed fifty-seven shows in front of more than half a million fans. Uniquely, Peart chose to do his between-show traveling by motorcycle, riding 21,000 miles of back roads and highways in North America and Europe — from Appalachian hamlets and Western deserts to Scottish castles and Alpine passes.
Roadshow illuminates the daunting rigors of a major international concert tour, as well as Peart’s exploration of the scenic byways and country towns along the way. His evocative and entertaining prose carries the reader through every performance and every journey, sharing the bittersweet reflections triggered by the endlessly unfolding landscape. Observations and reflections range from the poignantly, achingly personal to the wickedly irreverent.
Part behind-the-scenes memoir, part existential travelogue, Roadshow winds through nineteen countries on both sides of the Atlantic, in search of the perfect show, the perfect meal, the perfect road, and an elusive inner satisfaction that comes only with the recognition that the journey itself is the ultimate destination.
The inner workings of the tour, the people Peart works with and the people he meets, the roads and stages and ever-changing scenery — all flow into an irresistible story. read more
Neil Peart is one of the most universally respected Rock drummers, and is best known for his nearly superhuman, pyrotechnic drum playing, and for providing intellectual lyrics for his band's songs. Neil has served as both drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush since 1975, joining bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. (Rush's lineup has remained unchanged since Neil's arrival in 1975.) Rush is the most successful Canadian music group in history, and is the third most prolific seller of consecutive (American) Gold and Platinum Records and videos, behind only the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Beginning on August 10, 1997, immediately following Rush's "Test For Echo" tour, Neil Peart endured concurrent, seemingly unendurable tragedies when his daughter (and only child) died in a car accident, and his wife died from cancer 10 months later. This put Rush on indefinite hiatus for the first time, and prompted Neil to write "Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road", his second book. In September 2000, Neil married Los Angeles photographer Carrie Nuttall. Following Neil's recovery, Rush returned victoriously to the studio and the stage in 2002 with "Vapor Trails", their 17th studio album. A highly successful 2002 tour brought about the band's long-awaited return to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Rush ended their tour with their first-ever shows in Brazil, where they played to 125,000 fans in three nights. The final performance of the 2002 tour was captured on DVD as Rush in Rio (2003) (V), which was certified double-platinum within weeks of its release. Since the Vapor Trails album and tour, Neil's writing has become more personal. His live performances too, including his trademark percussion solos which showcase his superlative adroitness as a drummer, have been regarded as his best to date.read more
Reviews for Roadshow by Neil Peart
Although I read Neil's first two published books, I didn't pick up on the next two as I didn't really enjoy his writing style that much. I found it a bit wooden, a bit like recent Rush lyrics ! Anyway, having read some somewhat polarised reviews, I just had to read Roadshow and see which side of the fence I found myself on. On the positive side, I think Neil's writing style has definitely matured, and seems to flow much better than the first books. I definitely felt more engaged with this book than the others and really enjoyed it, whereas with Ghost Rider I started to find it a bit of a slog towards the end. This is helped I think by numerous Rush anecdotes which are fascinating to any die-hard Rush fan such as myself, and the insights into what goes into a Rush tour, the personalities involved, etc. There's also a lot of background information about the places Neil visits which is very reminiscent of Bill Bryson and makes the whole experience informative and interesting. I would have liked a bit more background on the bikes he was riding. I think he could have opened that up a lot more, history of bikes, the way they work, that kind of thing. I like books like that. My problems with the book are that great travel-writing is as much about the people you meet as the places you visit, and quite clearly Neil, by his nature, is not going to meet that many new people, especially if he suspects they have an inkling who he is (although there can't be THAT many out there can there ?) I also found it strange how little was written about Brutus, his enigmatic travelling companion in Europe. Whereas I felt I got to know Michael on the American leg, Brutus didn't really ever speak, either literally or as a character. Other negatives are that most of the Rush performance commentary focuses on Neil's own performance. There's very little said about the performances of the band in general and very little written about the other members of the band on the tour. This may be simply respecting their privacy, but again it tends to make the book seem a bit narcissistic. I appreciate Neil's honesty however, in exposing his own shortcomings, as well as those of his fans. Clearly a risky strategy there, but his sense of humour really shines and he obviously has a great time on his bike, and this is what I took from the book. In conclusion, I think if you're a Rush fan you'll definitely enjoy this.read more
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