If you asked him a year ago, Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson would not necessarily have guessed that the Canadian trio would be back on the road again this summer.
But, he says, last year’s outing in promotion of Rush’s 18th studio album, “Snakes & Arrows,” “went so well, and the demand was there to do more dates, it’s actually turning out to be quite a tour for us in our old age.”
It’s also helping the band, and its fans, to feel more comfortable that Rush is back in active duty, something that was not a certainty just a few years ago.
The Toronto-based group, which released its first album in 1974, took an unexpected hiatus from 1997-2001 while percussionist Neil Peart grieved the loss of both his wife and daughter just 10 months apart.
The group came back strong with 2002’s “Vapor Trails” and a subsequent 30th anniversary celebration, but in some ways it was “Snakes & Arrows” — which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold in the band’s native Canada — that’s affirmed Rush’s returned status.
“On the ‘Vapor Trails’ tour,” Lifeson, 54, says, “I remember standing on stage every night just thinking, ‘This could be the last time you ever play this song, so take it for all you can.’ That’s sort of been the way I’ve looked at everything since then.
“I don’t know if that’s made things easier or more comfortable, or just a different kind of satisfaction. But I feel like I’m enjoying it more than I ever have. And (the 2007) tour was great. I love playing every song. Every show was great. There was never a night where I felt down or a little out of it or a little off. I loved every show we did.”
The tour, and specifically an October stop in the Netherlands, yielded the “Snakes & Arrows Live” album, which came out in April and gave Rush something to promote on its summer swing through North America. A DVD is due to follow in late summer or early fall.
Meanwhile, Lifeson says that he, Peart and singer/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee are also thinking a bit about Rush’s next studio album — mostly likely with “Snakes & Arrows” co-producer Nick Raskulinecz — but suspects that musical project will come later rather than sooner.
“I’m guessing that we’re probably going to take a little bit of a break at the end of this tour,” says Lifeson, who’s been updating his Web site with a number of new features he hopes to roll out soon.
“I don’t see us really doing much in the way of any new material probably until the spring of next year, and then we’ll see where we go.
“We generally prefer to just start on that first day and sit down and start jamming; it’s such an exciting moment, and it becomes it’s own living thing. We seem to be much more balanced and a lot happier working that way.”
Rush performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (June 10) at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Drive, Detroit. Tickets are $42.50-$99.50. Call (313) 471-6606 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
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