Rush News

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson Make Surprise Performance at Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Concert in Toronto

Rush singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson made a surprise appearance Thursday night at “Celebrating Gordon Lightfoot,” the star-studded tribute concert to the legendary Canadian singer-songwriter lineup at the Carnegie Hall of the country’s music world, Toronto’s Massey Hall. Lightfoot, who wrote such classics as “If You Could Read My Mind” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” died last May at the age of 84 — he had played the historic venue 170 times.

Lee and Lifeson, billed on the private performer rundown and setlist only as “L+L,” were backed by Canadian Music Hall of Famers (and the evening’s house band) Blue Rodeo on Lightfoot’s song “The Way I Feel,” complete with an acoustic guitar solo from Lifeson.

The poetic song about abandonment and heartbreak appeared on his 1966 debut album, “Lightfoot!,” then re-recorded as the title track for his 1967 follow-up.

“It was important for us to pay tribute to Gordon,” Lee told Variety. “Not being folk or pop artists, Alex and I were looking for one of Gordon’s songs that might better suit our style of play and we found that in ‘The Way I Feel.’ Its structure was loose and more open to interpretation than many of his more popular tunes.”

The sold-out crowd of 2,750 — most of whom, to hazard a guess, might never have seen a show by Rush despite the musically ambitious trio’s 40-year-plus run — nonetheless responded ecstatically to the unexpected addition of the national heroes, who have sold 45 million albums worldwide, as did the beaming members of Blue Rodeo. Rush’s “All the World’s a Stage” live album was recorded over three nights at Massey Hall in 1976.

“After the gig, Gordon’s daughter Meredith [Moon] said to us, ‘Leave it to Rush to make ‘The Way I Feel’ sound prog,’ so I think we succeeded,” Lee added.

Lee and Lifeson also came out for the ensemble finale, “Summerside of Life,” featuring all of the evening’s performers, including Moon, Burton Cummings, Tom Cochrane, Sylvia Tyson, Allison Russell, Murray McLauchlin, City and Colour, William Prince, the Good Brothers with Travis Good of the Sadies, Serena Ryder (also unbilled), Aysanabee, Tom Wilson, Kathleen Edwards, Julian Taylor, Damnhait Doyle (the evening’s host), Caroline Wiles, Bob Doidge, and the Lightfoot Band (Rick Haynes, Barry Keane, Mike Heffernan and Carter Lancaster), which played with their eponymous leader for decades and served as the house band for the first half of the tribute concert. -, May 24, 2024

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