When the world lost Neil Peart, the iconic drummer of Rush, one thing was confirmed that the rest of the band already kind of knew—Rush would never perform together as a unit again.
The prog-rock kings have reigned ever since the seventies but there’s one thing that may hurt any new fans who have joined the clan of Rush they will never get to see them in the flesh, providing a whirlwind performance.
The string of dates was known as the R40 tour and saw the band celebrate 40 years of Rush. It seems that despite selling-out stadiums and proving their appeal was as strong as ever, they were always destined to call it quits after the final night in Los Angeles, August 15th, 2015.
Geddy Lee was asked by The Guardian if he knew it was the last time they would play live together: “Not 100%,” he said. “Neil was pretty adamant it was, and he played it like it was going to be the final show. And that’s why he actually left the drum throne and came out and gave us a hug on stage, which he swore he would never do.
“I guess I was a bit of an optimist. But nope,” reflected Lee. “I think Alex accepted it more as the end. I thought we really killed it that night, but it was hard to tell because it got really emotional in the last 20 minutes. That’s the first time I ever got choked up at a microphone. So I guess a part of me knew.”
The footage below captures the final encore of the band as the fan-shot film captures the trio performing their beloved song ‘Working Man’. It was a fitting end for a triumphant band, “Thank you so much Los Angeles,” Lee tells the crowd in the clip as the final notes ring out. “On behalf of the greatest crew and organisation in the world, thank you United States of America for 40 awesome years and I do hope we’ll meet again sometime. Bye-bye.”
As this happened, Lee experienced an unheard thing as the usually reserved Peart joined Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson for a final bow. “I’ve never crossed what I call the back-line meridian,” the drummer tour documentary Time Stand Still. “I stay behind my drums and cymbals for 40 years and never go out front, never. It’s not my territory. Eventually, I talked myself into it. It was totally the right thing to do.”
Lee and Lifeson had hoped to convince Peart to join them in a reunion but he insisted that touring was too hard on his body and he was keen to concentrate on being a father. “We always said that if the three of us aren’t on board, we don’t do a thing,” Lee said. “There have been other decisions in our career where the three of us weren’t on board and we didn’t do it. Nothing as profound as ending our touring life, but fair enough. So one guy doesn’t want to do that thing anymore that I love to do. That hurts. But there’s nothing I can do about it and that’s part of the agreement.”
The agreement would last until Peart’s untimely death and see Rush’s final tour conclude with a performance of ‘Working Man’ live from the Los Angeles Forum in 2015.