Why 2018 will be even better than you think

All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It’s really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah your honesty

-Rush, The Spirit of Radio

In high school I played lead guitar for a rock band.

We covered The Eagles Hotel California in the school talent show, and sauntered to class like we were rock stars.

But the drummer of the band, Anthony, and myself, were both much more obsessed with Rush.  Anthony wanted to be Neil Peart, and I wanted to be Alex Lifeson.

A great Canadian (and Torontonian) success story, Rush has always been the quintessential rock band for rock nerds.

The level of musicianship and virtuosity the trio applied to their songwriting and concerts was, and arguably still is, unparalleled in the world of rock.

Now if you haven’t tried to cover a Rush tune, it’s the musical equivalent of reproducing a painting by Monet.

Or at least it seemed that way to a couple of high school kids.

The band’s attention to detail is so extreme, and their timing so impeccable, that it’s near impossible. Especially on their more intricate tracks.

One summer, Anthony and I spent hours rehearsing The Spirit of Radio.  We drilled the intro repeatedly, but somehow we were never quite tight enough. We missed cues, and bumbled our way through the piece’s various time changes.

We eventually got close, but it still didn’t sound like Rush.

Both of us knew it.

Then, one hazy afternoon, as we were about to call it a practice, we decided to give it one more try.  And we nailed the song!  From start to finish, and with surgical precision. It was poetry in motion. We sat frozen for a few seconds as our brains struggled to catch up with what’d just happened.

There was no one around.

Not a soul heard us that day.

But we were grinning ear to ear, and high-fiving like we’d won a Grammy or something.

I lost touch with Anthony after high school, but if I saw him today, I’d bet anything we’d point at each other and say, “Remember the Spirit of Radio?”

Every so often, life gives us moments like these.

Flashes of pure inspiration.

If there’s one thing I would wish for you in 2018, it’s to be more deliberate in carving out your very own living snapshots, somewhere between breaths, where time has no meaning.

If you start, this minute, by thinking of five experiences you’re grateful for…

…We’ll be on our way.

To more “moments” in 2018,

Conor Kelly


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