The legend from Toronto is on the road again.
The trio of musicians from the great white North whom a lot of music fans believe to be the greatest rock artist that ever there was is on tour again, having kicked off the second leg of their latest tour in Puerto Rico (for the first time in their 34-year existence) on April 11th.
The new album that the band is touring for, called "Snakes and Arrows Live", which was compiled from two shows recorded live in Rotterdam last October while the band toured in support of its "Snakes and Arrows" studio album, has been received with anticipation and excitement.
[Vocalist, bassist, and keyboard player] Geddy Lee's strident voice cuts through the music like a scalpel and Alex Lifeson's guitar work provides a well, it can only be described as a "force" of sound; and not forgetting the drumming maestro that is Neil Peart...Let us also remember that these guys are excellent musicians; their instrumentals like 'The Main Monkey Business' and the closing track 'YYZ' are true musical meisterwerks.
Those strong feelings that only a band like Rush can call forth (with equal and opposite vehemence coming from their non-fans) are reflected by those attending the current tour.
Gushed one fan
of 29 years' loyalty who got $90 seats in the 9th row at the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas two nights ago:
Alex was the symbol of perfection, as usual; Neil was amazing (naturally), and Geddy was not only in a zone, but seemed very happy and quite relaxed. Over the years the band has stayed true to their desire to faithfully reproduce exceptionally difficult songs live but they’ve also learned to loosen up and have some fun...the light-show [was] mesmerizing, the projections [were] hilarious, the sound quality [was] top-notch, and the crowd was completely into it the whole way...
It was the legendary band's first performance in Austin in 14 years on a tour that is seeing them play many not-been-there-in-a-very-very-long-time venues.
The "Snakes and Arrows Live" tour is also the first time that the band has toured in support of a live album since it hit the road to support 1981's "Exit...Stage Left", itself a live recording of the marathon tour that was undertaken to support what is still to this day the band's greatest-selling album, "Moving Pictures".
The band is performing nearly all of the "Moving Pictures" album on this tour, in fact, as well as more than half of its latest studio release, which hit the stores on May 1st of last year.
Always the most talkative--and zany--of the three band members, who for many years now have considered themselves "closer than brothers", guitar virtuoso Alex Lifeson, the founding member, gave an interview recently in which he said
With every tour, it feels like it's the last tour. But we're really enjoying ourselves. We're playing the best that we've every played. We're sounding really good, really tight. But there are other things in life. You keep thinking as you get older that maybe you want to pursue other things, or maybe it's time to pack it in, blah, blah, blah.
But this time, though, just before we started rehearsals, Ged and I were talking about what we're going to do on the next tour. So I guess we're looking forward. I don't know what our plan is.
The band's centerpiece, Neil Peart, very widely regarded as the best non-jazz drummer and the best rock or pop music lyricist in rock n roll era history, has often received heavy criticism, even from the most loyal fans, for being stand-offish (actually, he's shy) or too heavy-handed intellectually. A running joke among fans is that they wish, for just once in their lives, to see the scowling Neil on stage looking like he actually enjoys playing the drums.
According to Lee, however, Neil has a tremendous sense of humor and is "just a regular guy" who happens to "have a big brain".
Despite Lifeson's caution about predicting the future, which has become another long-running Rush fan joke, the fact is that the trio has already announced its definite intentions to get back together to write and record a new studio album in the Spring of 2009.