By Tim Lasiuta
Special to the Express
Alex Leifson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart have been around the world.
An international phenomenon, Rush had the distinction of being named to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Detroit this year, of receiving the Governor Generals Award, the Officers of the Order of Canada, and are also winners of numerous Junos, (Clockwork Angels, Presto, Roll the Bones) and most recently are being honoured with a Canada Post stamp featuring their seminal album cover, 2112.
In a surprising twist of events, the progressive rock trio will play the Red Deer Centrium due to a Stampede Saddledome cancellation, probably the smallest venue in decades they will grace.
What was originally intended as part of their ‘Clockwork Angels 2013’ tour, is now an Alberta Flood Relief Benefit Concert.
Rush will be donating their fee and paying for their expenses for the show, and Live Nation, their promoter, will be donating their time and fees towards the cause. Not to be outdone, the Enmax Centrium will be donating goods and services as well.
Geddy Lee, vocalist and bassist for Rush said this concerning the concert.
“After seeing the devastation from the recent floods, we felt compelled to do what we could,” he said. “While we had hoped to avoid cancelling the Calgary show, venue safety concerns have closed the venue. Our apologies to all of the fans that bought tickets to the Calgary show for any inconvenience.
“We’re hoping they – along with the great people of Red Deer – can come to the Enmax Centrium for what has now become a benefit concert. We’d like to thank everyone helping to put on this show for joining us in donating their time and services so we can raise as much money as possible to help those in need.”
All 6,700 plus seats will be filled with fans of all ages from destinations north, south and in between.
Stand out is what their music does.
While they have adopted styles of popular music from heavy metal to reggae and even a few ballads over their four decades of recording, their artistic integrity has not changed.
Their earlier work, from the ground breaking science fiction epic 2112 to Hemispheres increased in complexity and grew their technical skills and audiences worldwide.
Consequent albums delved into more commercial themes with intelligent lyrics often imbued with psychology, philosophy, and on occasion spirituality.
Songs like Working Man, Freewill and Far Cry received radio play with varying degrees of success.
Tom Sawyer and Spirit of Radio are their most recognized singles, each earning multiple awards on both sides of the border.
Caravan from Clockwork Angels is their most current single, appearing even on a TSN CFL broadcast July 20th.
Their 20-plus albums recorded over 40 years have sold 40-plus million copies worldwide, making them the number three recording group in rock history behind the Beatles and the Stones (consecutive gold albums).
Individually, as musicians, Peart is recognized as one of the world’s best and complex drummers; Lee, as a top bass player and Leifson as an incredibly versatile guitarist.
Rush is a band that has transcended their craft.
Their musical influence has been felt by progressive rock and heavy metal bands from Yes to Metallica.
Clockwork Angels has been turned into a best-selling novel, individual band members have appeared on the Trailer Park Boys, recorded/produced solo albums, and performed with the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra.
Lee, Leifson and Peart have lived a life of adventure.
From throwing pitches at Blue Jays games to touring the world on the back of a motorcycle to being a licensed pilot, their journeys from humble beginnings in Willowdale, Ontario in the early 1970s have brought them to an unlikely place in Central Alberta to celebrate, commemorate and elevate the human spirit.