It has been noted that Geddy Lee reminisced a conversation he and Alex Lifeson had with Neil Peart which led to Rush‘s farewell tour, recalling the rollercoaster of emotion that was happening behind the scenes as the band played their last ever show together.
There comes a time in every relationship when difficult talks have to be had, and the one which came after Neil Peart decided to retire was “the toughest conversation [Rush] ever had, Geddy Lee said during a recent stop of his “My Effin’ Life” book tour at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
Their relationship was “incredibly gratifying” and their serious disagreements could be counted “on one hand.’ But Geddy said that Neil’s timing for voicing his retirement plans came at a particularly tough moment.
It was 2014 when the trio met to have *the* talk, Alex Lifeson had just undergone surgery, and his arthritis was causing him real problems, the bassist recalls. Neil was insisting they talk there and then, which was uncharacteristic of the drummer, according to Geddy. He added (transcription via Blabbermouth):
“Here he was now saying, ‘I think I’m reaching the end.’ And that was a hard conversation. And he looked at Alex, and he said, ‘Alex, what do you think?’ And Al was sitting there, having just had surgery the week before, and he’s not very comfortable. He’s sitting upright, and he said, ‘Well, look, Neil, I don’t know how many tours I have left in me because of my issues. But I really would like to do one more.'”
“And Neil looked at me and went, ‘Fuck.’ He had no answer for that. He said, ‘One thing I said to myself before this meeting was if Alex wanted to do this tour badly enough’ that he would say yes. And he did. And he wasn’t happy.”
“He snuck out. He gave us a hug, and we took a bow together. But after that show, it was really weird, because we didn’t talk about it. 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, and I had resentment, I’ll be honest. I was resentful because I loved that tour and I wanted to bring it around the world, and he only had agreed to so many gigs and he wouldn’t bend.”