[This originally appeared as my weekly column in the Metro papers. – AC]
I’m standing onstage at the MGM Grand Garden with Lorne Wheaton, the guy Rush’s Neil Peart trusts with his drum kits.
“This set,” he says, pointing to the kit that Peart has been using for the first half of each show on their 40th anniversary tour known as R40, “is made from an oak tree that was dredged out of the River Olt in Romania. It was carbon-dated to 1,500 years old. The guys at DW (Neil’s preferred drum maker) turned it into this. Amazing, right?”
Lorne spoke of his boss with awe and respect. But other Rush employees are facing an uncertain future. They know something is going to happen this coming Saturday night. When the lights go up at the end of the show at the LA Forum, the last stop on R40, that might be the last time we ever see the band onstage.
A Canada — a world — without Rush seems almost inconceivable, but that’s exactly what fans may be facing. The band has pushed pause on their career a couple of times in the past, but this time, things look serious. Very serious. There have been rumblings for months that this is definitely The End.
Keep reading. Meanwhile, here are some pictures from that Las Vegas show.
CLARIFICATION: This probably won’t be the end of Rush as we know it–they have some other plans for the future, apparently, including a Clockwork Angels movie–but it may be the very last time they perform live.