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September 30th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

CNN's John Roberts jams with Rush

I’ve always wanted – but never had the chance – to attend Rock and Roll Fantasy camp. That’s where my buddies from Rush came to the rescue. For the very first time, they allowed a guest – I won’t even use the word ‘artist’ – to join them on stage.

For four minutes, I lived the dream so many Rush fans have had – to play with three guys consistently rated among the top purveyors of their craft the world over.

I’ve received notes today from many guitarists who shuttered themselves in their room for days learning parts to 2112, La Villa Strangiato, Red Barchetta, Closer to the Heart and other Rush classics.

To the men and women out there who are undoubtedly far more proficient on guitar than this humble correspondent, I wish you the opportunity to one day join your heroes in song.

We played all of Limelight together, but for purposes of morning TV, we had to narrow it down to :45 seconds. Three-quarters of a minute I will never forget!

Filed under: Entertainment
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. LisaMarie

    What fun! Gosh, Alex seems like such a sweetie. They're all class guys, and dripping with talent. It must be great to hang out with them.

    October 13, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  2. DaGonz

    Thank you for a great interview with the best rock group in the world. When other rock groups rest on their laurels and become a mere parody of themselves, Rush continues to produce great music .

    It is a crying shame and an absolute disgrace that thety haven't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame... on the other hand... they don't need it. They sell out concert halls, their music and musicianship speaks for itself.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  3. JB

    John – Thanks for the great interview with the whole band, and thanks also for letting me vicariously live my dream of jamming on stage with them! Rush is not only one of the all-time great talents in rock, but are some of the most level-headed ones as well.

    October 5, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  4. Steve

    WHY YOU, I OughTTA!
    Can't believe it. Wow. You should feel very honoured.
    Thanks for the interviews. Lucky bugger

    October 2, 2010 at 4:17 am |
  5. steve mcinosh

    JD thanks for getting Neil to sit down for the interview.Great interview.Hope you went to the show, when they played Toronto it was awesome as usual

    October 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  6. Tim

    John – Well done. That will be an experience you treasure forever. I, like so many others, learned an awful lot of the Rush canon in my bedroom all those years ago. To be afforded the chance to play with them on stage might cause my heart to actually explode from joy.

    I'm insanely jealous. 😉

    October 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  7. Geno Orphanopoulos

    John, that was great to see! There's nothing like living out your Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy. I had the same experience this past February when I attended Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp for the very first time (a birthday gift from my lovely wife). The smile on your face reminded me of all my fellow "campers', and myself, that could not stop smiling from the exhilerating experience. How lucky was I, that it was also being filmed for the upcoming reality tv series premiering on VH1 Classic on Oct 16th. My highlights were that I got to sing "You Really Got Me" with Michael Anthony (Van Halen/Chickenfoot) and "We're an American Band" with Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad). It's something I'll never forget.

    You should come to our New York camp in Jan with Roger Daltrey, plus 20 or so other rock stars. Let me know if I can assist.

    Rock On!

    October 1, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  8. Jennny Chew

    Sad Rush did not make the RRHOFarts. Next year if they they ever do get nominated/accepted they can tell them where to go.
    "Who needs to be on some music critics list"- Peart My vote is for Weird Al Yankovic. He is better than Madonna and LL Cool J, Chic and the other that are getting inducted. Rush on! Love da Geddy! Miss Da Geddy!

    September 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
  9. BK


    September 30, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  10. Charles D. Bruce

    Respected by their peers. Adored by their fans. Have sold millions of records... yet... according to the idiots who run the Rock & Roll hall of fame... Rush isn't good enough. Of course other "rock" artists made it in such as Madonna?, Grandmaster Flash!?, Run DMC? It's amazing that these artists – who are not rock artists in any sense of the definition of rock – got in before bands like Rush.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  11. Luisa

    How totally awesome!! I just saw them this past weekend in Dallas and they were totally AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing that experience

    September 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  12. Alan Atwood

    JOHN – how BLESSED you are today young man! A dream fulfilled that you will not ever forget!!! I am truly envious and all that, but am so happy that you got to live a dream that a lot of us'ns from the Rushian clan can only meditate about. After 31 years of not having the chance, I FINALLY got to see them live in Minneapolis for the first time in my life. I will never EVER attend another concert other than Rush. Simply the best guys on the planet, and I am so glad someone like you got that "once in a lifetime" chance to live in the "LIMELIGHT"!

    Rock the World and Pass The Macallan!

    September 30, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  13. Jordan

    Fantastic! What an amazing experience and memory to cherish! Thanks for bringing Rush to the limelight of CNN!

    September 30, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  14. John R

    It does swell my Canadian heart with immense pride seeing the world's greatest ever rock band featured so prominantly on CNN. I agree with John in that if Rush were American, they would have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame many years ago. It just goes to show what a crock of merde (non Canadians will have to look that up!) the hall of fame is.

    Thank you so much for this!

    September 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  15. Mike

    Thank you John for the interview w/ RUSH on CNN this morning. I'm a big RUSH fan since 1984 and still going strong. I saw them in Wichita in this tour and will definitely see them again next year when they tour for the new album.
    Seeing them this morning brought back a lot of memories, and seeing you jam w/ them made me feel I wanted to be in your place 😀 Glad you enjoyed it, what a thrill!

    Thank you again.

    September 30, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  16. Rocinante


    September 30, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  17. Matt

    Saw John on the "Beyond the Lighted Stage" documentary, which is cool in and of itself. But to get up on stage and to jam with them. Awesome. Alex looked like he really enjoyed having him play along. And it looked like John knew the chords cold. Well done!

    Also kudos on getting Neil to participate in the interview. He's shy that way, as Rush fans know, and it was great to hear him talk and get a little of the "limelight" - even if he hates it. I've been reading his books lately and just can't get over how talented he is - not to mention what he has been through.

    A great, yet under-rated Rock band. Well done, CNN.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  18. MickAv8r

    Wow John talk about a dream come true! I picked up the guitar last year and Limelight was the first song I learned. I can even imagine being on stage with them let alone jamming.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  19. RUSH


    September 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  20. Analog Kid

    That is so unbelievably cool....I have been a Rush fan for over 30 years, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to jam to Limelight wth them.

    Thanks for the interview and keeping Rush in the "limelight".

    September 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  21. AndrewC

    I grew up in Toronto and remember JD Roberts the VJ and then reporter. I am glad he has worked up to the career he has now. Seeing him jam with Rush does remind me of his Much Music days. Still having fun good for you John.


    September 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  22. Dave

    You lucky dog! I got backstage in 1989 for a Hold Your Fire show, via a friend of a friend. I met Geddy's then bass tech, Skip "Slider" Gildersleeve (all those years of reading liner notes paid off). He invited me onstage where I was allowed to play Geddy's Wal bass. I was plugged into the house, and started playing Freewill. The crowd (ok, my buddies) went wild! The drum tech joined in for a moment, then I was informed my time was up. I was given a set of Geddy's strings and sent on my way. We didn't get a meet-and-greet (much less a play along), but we did get to watch sound check and hang out with the road crew all day. Our job for the day was to blow up the hundreds of "red ball" balloons that were dumped from the three large red balls (HYF album cover) that hung over the crowd (we had a machine). Like you, I'll never forget my story.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  23. Bryan

    John, I envy you every second of that experience!

    September 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  24. Steven Schmalzried

    John, what an honor to jam with one of the greastest bands of all time. I have been a diehard RUSH fan since 1977. My introduction to RUSH was when they were touring with KISS another legendary band. Once again both bands were passed up for the Rock & Roll of Fame, what do you feel about that. These 2 bands prove that friendship is a major part for the survival of a band.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  25. Harrison

    How cool was that!

    September 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm |