The Only Cover Band I Ever Liked – Boomer Memories

Stage full of musical instruments awaits the appearance of the cover band

The Rush Tribute Project is the Only Cover Band I Really Liked

Don’t get me wrong, cover bands are fun. Playing cover songs is a great way to engage a crowed when you are just starting out, and a cover band is a fun way for a group of musicians to get together and jam. I’ve also enjoyed hearing songs covered by other artists, while seem them live in concert. Some of those that I have personally experienced were;

  • Bob Seger covering CCR’s Fortunate Son
  • Bon Jovi covering BTO’s Takin’ Care of Business
  • Heart covering Led Zepplin’s Rock & Roll

The Problem With Cover Bands

I’ve also seen my share of cover bands. Also often called tribute bands, those that I can recall immediately were cover groups of Kiss, Tom Petty & the Heart Breakers, AC/DC, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, and Led Zepplin. Note that these were all fun and enjoyable events, and all of these musicians have more musical talent than I will ever possess.

One might argue that some current bands touring without their iconic lead players might also be considered a cover band, I have Journey in mind if you are wondering. The problem with cover bands is they are simply building on or enjoying the success created by others. Now, I get it…I really do, it’s all in the name of fun, and I don’t hold anything against them for that.

It just feels all a bit too fake to me, essentially pretending to be someone else. It is however fun anticipation to get the crowd warmed up before the “real” event. I saw the AC/DC and a Van Halen cover bands as precursors to a real Cheap Trick show. I should note here that the Van Halen cover band was better than the real Van Halen I saw a couple of years later.

Rush Tribute Project – Why They Were Different

Only one cover band truly left me in awe, and one I would consider true artists in their own right – the Rush Tribute Project. As any Rush fan knows, the complex arrangement and artistry involved with Rush music has to be difficult to master. How Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson, and Geddy Lee did it all by themselves is a case study in musical genius in of itself. These three men are masters of their craft at levels few others will ever achieve.

I can only imagine the guys from Rush Tribute Project sitting around one day saying to themselves, Hey, let’s start a cover band, but let’s choose the most difficult and complex music we can find…and then master it.

Indeed, they did master it. Seeing them live and up close was such an odd and wonderful experience. Yes, they were playing music they didn’t originally create, however the sheer complexity and volume of work and knowledge needed to master the original work laid down by the trio from Canada really got me thinking.

Do we lambast or criticize other musicians for mastering Mozart, or Bach? No, we applaud them. I found myself similarly realizing that these guys were mimicking the musical genius of our generation, the baby boomer generation, and they were doing it with such skill at such a high level, it wasn’t really a “cover” any more.

Conclusion

We marvel at the artists that compete in the International Van Cliburn Competition who reproduce classic works in perfection. So too should we applaud musicians that are able to reproduce the classic works of our own generation, in perfection.

I submit that a hundred years from now, Rush music will be viewed in the same way we view Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Handel. I probably won’t ever go out of my way to see a cover band again, but I would certainly consider seeing the Rush Tribute Project again, should they come to town.

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