Geddy Lee Admits He Resented Neil Peart After Rush’s Final Show
It was 2015 when Rush embarked on their R40 tour, celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary. Though it wasn’t billed as a farewell tour, the trio knew it would be their last, and Peart – who wanted to focus on family life – had needed serious convincing even to take part in the trek.
"By the time that tour got towards the end, our relationship was strained,” Lee admitted during a recent stop promoting his new memoir, My Effin' Life. “With every successive gig, he was closer to the end, [Neil] was getting happier, and Alex [Lifeson] and I were getting, uh, less happy.”
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As Lee described it, the band’s final concert – held Aug. 1, 2015 in Los Angeles – was uncomfortable.
“The last gig was odd. We played our guts out, we played our hearts out in L.A. at that show,” the bassist recalled. “I asked [Peart], I said, 'Well, would you come out and take a bow? Maybe it'll be our last gig.' He said, 'No, I don't do that. No, I don't cross that invisible line.' We said, 'Okay.' But, he did anyway, because he couldn't resist it. He snuck out. He gave us a hug, and we took a bow together.”
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Despite the embrace onstage, things still felt uneasy for the bandmates behind the scenes.
“After that show, it was really weird, because we didn't talk about it,” Lee remembered. “He went to sort of his dressing room, which was ebullient and celebratory, and we went to see all our chums, and we pretended we were ebullient and celebratory. But we went home in a very sad frame of mind.”
Lee went on to explain that his emotions stemmed from wanting to keep Rush touring.
“I had resentment, I'll be honest,” the rocker confessed. “I was resentful because I loved that tour and I wanted to bring it around the world, and [Peart] only had agreed to so many gigs and he wouldn't bend.”
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Things smoothed over months later when the bandmates reconnected to work on the R40 Live DVD. Peart told Lee how happy he was with his “new life” away from touring, and the bassist had a moment of realization.
"I thought to myself, what kind of a friend am I that would begrudge him this after all he'd been through?" Lee explained. "And so it was healing to have that conversation."
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Gallery Credit: Ryan Reed