The Reason Geddy Lee Kept Rush’s Farewell As A Secret

Throughout their career, Rush became the inspiration source for many musicians in the scene. For instance, Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci, and John Myung are avid fans of Rush, and they don’t hesitate to pay their respects to the band whenever possible. The trio started their music career by covering the band’s songs; they all know each of them by heart. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith is another musician inspired by Rush — he once argued that his life changed when he discovered the band.

Rush reached their commercial peak in the 1970s and continued to release successful efforts in the following years. Although things were going pretty well in their music career, the band entered a five-year hiatus when the Test For Echo tour concluded. This was because Neil Peart had a difficult period in his life — he lost his daughter in a car crash, and his wife Jacqueline died from cancer. So, Peart needed time to mourn their loss.

The power trio lineup of Neil Peart, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson reunited in 2001 to release three more albums. Following the tour to promote ‘Clockwork Angels,’ Rush decided to take a year off. In 2015, they embarked on the R40 Tour to celebrate Peart’s 40th year as a Rush member. Geddy Lee noted that this might be their last large-scale tour due to the drummer’s chronic tendinitis and psoriatic arthritis. However, it turns out that Lee knew this would be their farewell.

Geddy Lee tried to put the fans at ease by saying that his remark didn’t mean an end to Rush, as they could still continue to give occasional performances. However, the same year, Neil Peart announced his retirement. In the following years, Alex Lifeson implied they wouldn’t come up with any new material after 41 years of a career in the scene.

On the other hand, Lee argued they would work on other projects but not as Rush. So, fans still saw a beam of light at the end of the tunnel. Sadly, Neil Peart’s passing on January 7, 2020, closed the doors for a Rush reunion. In many of his interviews, Lifeson insisted that there was no way Rush would ever exist.

In a 2018 interview with CTV News, Geddy Lee looked back on those times and revealed that they knew the R40 tour would be their last one. When asked why they didn’t inform the fans about this, the guitarist said they couldn’t accept the truth and didn’t really believe that this was the end of Rush.

“I don’t think in our hearts we believed it was the end,” said Geddy Lee, “even though it did turn out to be the end. Maybe we would’ve served our fans better if we had just accepted the reality that, ‘Yeah, this is going to be our last tour,’ and told everybody. But they sort of had that sense and came out because of it anyway. I wasn’t really interested in capitalizing on something that may not be true, so it seemed to me much hipper to go out and play.”

So, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart sensed that the R40 tour would be their last one, but they couldn’t confront the reality. Lee argued that their last performance would’ve been better if they had accepted this, but he still wanted to take the stage and play without any concern in his mind.


  1. Too bad they didn’t take it to Europe as a farewell to the fans overhere. Still feels like unfinished emotions.

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