Forget the Rules: You Can Wear a Rush Shirt to a Rush Concert

My original aim in this blog was to document what kind of non-Rush shirts were worn by Rush fans at the band's concert Sunday night.

However, the results were fundamentally uninteresting. Kiss, Iron Maiden on the old guard, and on younger fans, modern proggy acts like Primus and Tool. There also was a young man wearing a Mumford and Sons shirt, but he was the only real anomaly. There should be nothing peculiar about people wearing shirts for other arena rock bands at a concert by an arena rock band, but the case for Rush is different.

See also:

Rush @ US Airways Center (Concert Review)
Rush @ US Airways Center (Slideshow)
Rush Recording Upcoming Phoenix Show for DVD Release in 2013

Jim Louvau
See more photos in the complete Rush at US Airways slideshow.
At most Rush concerts, such as the one Sunday night, the overwhelming majority of band shirts worn are Rush shirts. This flies in the face of an unwritten code of live music decorum that I will term as the "that guy" rule, in reference to a line from the otherwise unimpressive '90s comedy PCU.

In most music scenes, you should not aspire to be "that guy" (or "that girl" or "that [insert gender-appropriate term here]") who wears the shirt of the band he is going to see. It's redundant. People understand your enthusiasm and interest toward the band because you made it to the show. You don't need the shirt to broadcast that, so you are better off wearing something else if you want to communicate some kind of message to people. This line of thinking does not apply at Rush concerts, not because of any widespread obliviousness to this rule on the part of Rush fans, but because of how Rush exists as a band and a brand.

Rush is its own thing; "that guy" rules don't apply. Though it certainly is true that the band can be classified as prog rock and, therefore, lumped into the same category as Yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, the men of Rush act in a singular and insular manner. The band has been touring without an opening act for over a decade, never does festival appearances, and only recently has come back into the media limelight (pun intended) with appearances on The Colbert Report and in the film I Love You Man.

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Funny, I was never aware of the "That Guy" rule. In any case, the shirts I see most at Rush shows, besides Rush, are Floyd (and Floyd-related) and Zeppelin. At Roger Waters' shows, after Floyd/related, it was Rush and Zeppelin. At the Page/Plant shows in the 90s, after Zeppelin, it was Rush and Floyd/related. Those three bands sort of circle each other and I would say, when you leave out the prog and hair metal contingent of Rush's fandom, they are the most common second/third favorite bands. (I know it's true in my case...) Anyway, MY "That Guy" rule is that I don't LISTEN to the band on the day of the show, before the's sort of like fasting before a great meal.


No mention of Dad's near existential crisis over which Rush shirt to wear? Weak.

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