In speaking with Eddie Trunk, Rush’s guitarist Alex Lifeson had some reassuring words to offer fans in the wake of their 40th anniversary tour R40 Live coming to a close. While R40 was rumored to be the bands last tour, or at least major one, the band still seems open to playing shows and possibly even releasing a new album, although those have yet to really be discussed by the band.
“Well, I love what we’re doing. I think we’re playing really well. The show’s working great … all of that stuff. Clearly, Neil [Peart, drums] has not enjoyed touring … the touring aspect for a long time. And he has a young family, and he has all his own reasons. It’s become difficult for him to play, and he has health issues as well. I think he mentioned in the Rolling Stone article that playing, for him, is like running a marathon while doing mathematical equations. So it’s very challenging, it’s very athletic, and at almost 63 years old, it’s a lot more difficult. It’s a three-hour show. We can’t get away from it. We were supposed to cut back on this tour. We can’t. Maybe in the future, there’s an opportunity to change things up a little bit, the way we do it. I think, in my gut, that this is probably the last major tour that we’ll do. I like to think that we’ll do specialty gigs – maybe a week in New York, or something like that – but we haven’t even discussed that. We just wanna get through this tour and see where we’re at. We wanna discuss whether we’re gonna make another record anytime soon … a lot of things.
Rush is known for their epic, complex songwriter and their hell of a stage show, usually playing three hour shows, so it’s no surprise that aging is going to impact the band in terms of playing and touring. So even if the band isn’t going to be doing any more major world tours, the idea of touring and playing shows is not off the table.
“Whatever this tour is, it’s not the end of the band. It’s just … kind of, reviewing where we’re at in terms of major tours. And that’s kind of what it is.
He then gave a similar statement to Rob Halford’s “It was farewell, but not goodbye, my friend,” in regards to their Epitaph DVD.
“We’re not waving goodbye. We’re waving ‘see you later.'”
“Whatever it is … if it is the end of touring, I feel good that we’re at least playing as well as we are, that we’ve developed a show that’s really, you know, quite something in terms of our historical story. And it’s nice to go out on a note like that, if you are – at the top of your game, or close to the top of your game.
I’d be hard pressed to find a time that Rush wasn’t at the top of their game, and yes I do include the 80’s synth rock years. At least he doesn’t seem too open to a Las Vegas residency, but maybe a few shows at the Madison Square Garden.
“I would hate to think that we would be one of those bands that would do a couple of weeks in [Las] Vegas – for what reason, I don’t know… Ten shows at Madison Square Garden, well, that’s a little different. And you bring people in from all over the country. I’m not saying that’s something we will do, but that is an option, or it is something that you could put together instead of doing a major tour, and bring people to the venue. Vegas is not the kind of environment, I think, for us. We certainly wouldn’t be happy doing something like that.”
Lifeson also took a moment to squash the overreaction to him speaking about his arthritis, claiming that he can still play everything fine. It’s no surprise here that a little bit of arthritis isn’t enough to stop one of rock’s greatest axe men.
“I keep hearing it now, and I almost regret ever mentioning it in the past. ‘Cause everyone thinks, ‘Oh, his hands are… He’s got arthritis, and that’s it. He can’t play.’ I feel it, just like we all do as we get older – aches and all of that stuff – but it doesn’t impede my playing. It makes it a little more difficult, a little more challenging to do the fast stuff, and there’s a little bit of feedback that I get from it the next day, but it’s nothing that really stands in the way.”