Rush hour: Rockers Return Is Sell Out

By Ken McNab, Glasgow Evening Times, September 12, 2004

ALEX LIFESON watched in amazement at the surreal scene before his eyes.

Three thousand music fans sang as one, never missing a word.

The balcony appeared perilously close to collapse as the concrete pillars heaved in time to the music.

The date was April 1979. The band was Rush. The song was Closer To The Heart. And the venue, well, it could only be the Glasgow Apollo.

That image has remained in Alex's mind, and was immortalised in the 1981 live album Exit Stage Left, which had a tribute to the Glasgow choir in the sleevenotes.

But next month, those memories will come back into sharp focus when Rush return to Glasgow.

For guitarist Alex, singer Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart, their SECC gig on September 24 will be a sort of homecoming.

Rush are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year with Feedback, an outstanding new album of covers of songs that fired the group as teenagers.

In an exclusive interview with Times Out, Alex said: "I will never forget the crowd at the Glasgow Apollo singing Closer to the Heart. Glasgow was one of the first places to be into Rush.

"I just remember how vocal the audience was; they were so loud and so enthusiastic.

"I remember seeing that balcony swaying. It was just an amazing sight. To hear these guys sing our song so clearly was a fantastic moment. No other audience did that."

Alex is delighted so many fans remain loyal.

He said: "We haven't been back in 12 years and didn't know what to expect when tickets went on sale.

"We couldn't believe it when they sold out on pre-sale."

Rush's reputation was forged with albums such as 2112,and Hemispheres.

But the band has gone full circle with Feedback which has hi-energy covers of Summertime Blues, The Who's The Seeker, The Yardbirds' Heart Full of Soul and blues standard Crossroads.

Alex said: "We wanted to approach these songs in the spirit they were recorded and the studio we used is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

"They had an old console from the '60s, old vintage gear so it was very much in the spirit of that."

Fans of the band feared Rush would split when drummer and lyricist Peart suffered heartbreak in 1997 after his daughter Selena was killed in a car crash and he lost his wife Jacqueline a year later to cancer.

Alex said: "Neil was in a very bad state but he's doing great now.

"He called us with the idea of coming back and doing the last album, Vapor Trails."

Alex promises next week's SECC show will include songs running the gamut of the band's 29-albums.

He added: "When we began, we hoped to just sign a deal to make another record.

"Our original deal was for five albums and I thought, 'this is great. Whatever happens after that, who cares'."