In a recent interview with Craig Charles of BBC Radio 6 Music, Geddy Lee recounted the mixed emotions surrounding Rush’s last concert. Reflecting on the dynamics within the band, Lee revealed that Neil Peart’s retirement in 2015 presented a challenging reality for him and guitarist Alex Lifeson. Despite Lifeson facing health issues, both musicians were eager to continue touring. However, they respected Peart’s decision to limit the tour. At the final concert in 2015, Peart expressed happiness about his retirement and the prospect of spending more time with his family. Meanwhile, Lee and Lifeson felt disheartened, recognizing that this could mark the conclusion of the band.
Regarding this, Lee shared, “[Neil] was having a few health problems of his own in a different way. And I think that sealed the deal for him. And so at the very last gig, we were quite divergent in our moods. There was a dressing room that Neil was in that was ebullient and happy that he was about to retire and enter this other phase of his life with his wife and his young daughter. And then you had Alex and my dressing room where we were kind of down in the dumps because we knew this could be the very end of our band. So it was conflicting emotions during that period of time. And, of course, it was only a year later that [Neil] was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer. And, of course, none of that mattered anymore. That was a moot point then.
Lifeson’s Guitar Silence: The Aftermath of Neil Peart’s Passing
In 2020, following Neil Peart’s passing, Alex Lifeson opened up about his emotional state during an interview with the WFAN Network Show. Lifeson revealed that not only had he played very little guitar since Peart’s death, but he also experienced a lack of inspiration and motivation to create new music or perform. He shared:
“I didn’t really play for about a year. Every time I pick up a guitar (then), I just aimlessly kind of mess around with it and put it down after 10 minutes. Normally, I would pick up a guitar and I would play for a couple of hours without even being aware that I’m spending that much time.”
In a statement that might disappoint Rush fans, Lifeson expressed uncertainty about the motivation to pursue further endeavors. Despite their pride in their track record and enduring love for music, he acknowledged that things felt different now. Although the band returned to the stage afterward, Lifeson’s sentiments at that time held significant weight.
Geddy Lee Reflects on Neil Peart’s Final Years
Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson navigated the challenging period preceding Neil Peart’s death in distinct ways. Speaking on the House of Strombo Show, Lee opened up about the difficulties he and Lifeson faced in dealing with Peart’s illness, emphasizing the emotional toll on Peart’s family. Lee shared:
“What his family had to live through was really difficult. So it was a lot of back-and-forth. And when you’re in that state, it’s very hard to function normally because you can’t talk to anybody about it, ’cause no one’s supposed to know. And so people hear rumblings, and they bring things up to you, and you deflect it. And so that feels, on one hand, it feels dishonest, but on the other hand, you’re being loyal to your friend. So fuck the dishonesty part. That wins.”
Describing how he and Lifeson coped with grief differently, Lee continued: “I’d say Al and I have different ways of dealing with that. Al threw himself into little projects and bigger projects, and he kept working throughout the whole thing, and that was a real tonic for him. And I can relate to that because when we went through our first set of tragedies with Neil, back when he lost his wife and daughter, I did that — I threw myself into my solo album, and it saved me in many ways; it fed me, let’s put it like that. And so for myself, I turned to writing and I turned to book writing, and that was a way for me to — not compete with that moment and those feelings, but a way to take stock and recharge my batteries in a different way.” Rush didn’t perform any concerts after 2015 and officially disbanded in 2018.