That's where I am with them and I agree about Dream Theater as a comparison. I have musician friends who really get them/love them, but I can't. I just can't. I'm the same way with Thelonious Monk. I've always said that I'm not good enough at math to really "get" Monk. His music is incredibly complicated and intricate, but I can't listen to him for any length of time.I can absolutely see your point on that. That's how I feel about Dream Theater. As a drummer I can certainly appreciate Mike Portnoy's talent but I can't listen to any of their stuff for longer than 10 minutes. Saw them in concert and I was bored 3 songs in. To me it was a big wankfest.
But I love Rush because I think they were a bit different. Sure, they could go off on crazy 15-minute instrumentals but then they could put together a great rock song like "Freewill". There was enough there to satisfy the music nerds and the people who didn't know the difference between a guitar and a bass and just liked rock music.
Rush? I get it. Even things like YYZ are very "listenable" to me.