Ignoring the hot sun, excited fans in black concert T-shirts filled the intersection of Mt. Auburn and Bow Streets yesterday as the Harvard Lampoon presented the Canadian rock band Rush with its Musician of the Millennium Award.
Lampoon President Brian H. Kelley '94 conducted the joke-filled award ceremony from the steps of the Lampoon Castle at 44 Bow Street, before a crowd of approximately 300.
The band's bassist and lead singer Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart, observed as Kelley introduced a number of impersonation acts that roasted the band.
Among the "special guests" were the ghost of Freddy Mercury and "The Male Choir of St. Augustus." A Mark Twain look-alike criticized the Toronto-based band, whom he called "Canadian carpetbaggers," for their apparent misrepresentation of the Twain classic "Tom Sawyer" in a song of the same name.
"I never wrote 'Mean, mean pride," he said referring to one of the song's lyrics. "It was really 'Angry, angry hubris."
Two presentations were made during the 20-minute ceremony. The first was the distribution of what Kelley called "the gifts of love," three pizzas from Tommy's House of Pizza, presented by "Bob" from the restaurant.
Then Kelley presented the band with a copy of the latest Lampoon magazine, to be autographed by the Lampoon staff.
"It's not signed yet," Kelley said. "But we're definitely going to sign it."
The band members made brief remarks and thanked the crowd for showing up.
Drink and Be Merry
"We laughed, we cried, we drank," said Peart.
"What do you know about life? About being irresponsible?" Lifeson yelled to his screaming admirers.
The crowd chanted "Sing!" as the ceremony closed but Rush did not perform any of their songs.
About 100 of the onlookers stayed after the ceremony to watch the band leave the castle through a side door and drive off in limousines.
Despite the understated role of the band members in the ceremony, crowd response was generally favorable.
Kacy Ray and Fric Simpson, two 20-year old Miami Springs residents who drove thirty hours and spent $230 to see the brief ceremony including a $90 speeding ticket and a $60 cam-corder battery, were even more enthusiastic.
"It was worth the trip," said Ray. "They stood there. When we came up we expected 1,000 people. We didn't expect it to be so personal."
"Basking in their presence was all that we ask," Simpson said.