When Rush was on their final tour, I met up with the band in Las Vegas. Alex Lifeson was having a great time, but was also feeling a little melancholy about being on the road for the last time. “I’m having so much fun,” he told me. “I’m playing great and the audiences have been brilliant.” Geddy Lee nodded in agreement. But both were very respectful of Neil’s decision and his health needs.
We all know what happened next. Neil died of glioblastoma in 2020. That put an end to Rush forever. Or did it?
For most fans, Rush without Neil is inconceivable. But perhaps not to Geddy and Alex. Time can heal many wounds. And Dave Grohl may have had something to do with this change of heart. Both Alex and Geddy appeared at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts and–well, that kinda broke the ice.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Geddy had this to say:
“’It had been a taboo subject, and playing those songs again with a third person was the elephant in the room, and that kind of disappeared,’ Lee said. ‘It was nice to know that if we decide to go out, Alex and I, whether we went out as part of a new thing, or whether we just wanted to go out and play Rush as Rush, we could do that now.’
“Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. But in October 2022, for the first time in years, Lee and Lifeson went down into Lee’s home studio and jammed.
“The idea lingers. Lifeson was excited as offers rolled in after the Hawkins shows. Then he thought about sitting in a hotel room as he waited for the next gig. He also had surgery in July for his long-standing stomach problems. He’s improving but still wakes up feeling nauseated.
“Does Lee plan on nudging his pal to get back onstage? Of course not. He doesn’t even plan to bring it up.
“’He needs to feel good and feel healthy and strong,’ Lee says. ‘And then maybe we have a discussion.’”
Jeezus. Who would they get to sub in for Neil? The mind boggles.