Watch Ohio State Marching Band's Incredible Halftime Salute to Rush - Rolling Stone
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Watch the Ohio State Marching Band’s Incredible Halftime Salute to Rush

“We’re speechless,” prog-rock legends say of 15-minute performance that included “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight” and tribute to Neil Peart

The Ohio State University Marching Band staged a halftime salute to Rush — and paid tribute to the band’s late drummer Neil Peart — during the Buckeyes football team’s home game Saturday versus Maryland.

The marching band delivered renditions of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” “Red Barchetta,” “Fly by Night” and more. Ohio State News reports that for the performance — to capture Peart’s “sonic impact” — the Buckeyes band added expanded their percussion section by adding 20 toms and 20 extra cymbals mounted on four racks.

Almost as impressive as the marching band’s arrangements of the prog-rock classics were the formations the band created on the field: During the halftime show, the marching band spelled out “2112” and “YYZ” — which the OSU crew also performed — as well as creating a three-piece stick figure band complete with Peart’s Rush drumhead.

The 15-minute halftime performance earned the seal of approval from Rush themselves, who tweeted simply, “We’re speechless.”

Rush’s Geddy Lee recently revealed that he will release a memoir in the fall of 2022, a book he began during the pandemic while he was struggling to cope with the death of Peart (and later Lee’s own mother).

“My friend and collaborator on the Big Beautiful Book of Bass, Daniel Richler, saw how I was struggling in the aftermath of Neil’s passing, and tried coaxing me out of my blues with some funny tales from his youth, daring me to share my own in return,” Lee said of the memoir in September. “So I did — reluctantly at first, but then remembering, oh yeah, I like wrestling with words.”

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