Lee still gets a Rush

JASON MacNEIL -- Special to Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:23 AM ET

You'd think, at this stage of his career, no performance could give Rush singer/bassist Geddy Lee the butterflies. But he gets them when he knows a show is being recorded for a live album.

"There's always a bit of nerves when you're recording, even though we played about six million shows and we've done so many live recordings that it's getting ridiculous," Lee tells Sun Media. "When you know that you're being recorded you want to put your best foot forward.

"Sometimes that translates into you rising to the occasion, and sometimes that translates into you tightening up a little bit. All you're really after is trying to get an honest impression of what it's like to be at one of our shows musically."

The two-disc, 27-track new album was recorded over two nights last October in Holland. It contains new songs off Snakes & Arrows as well as a bevy of staples such as Freewill, Tom Sawyer and The Spirit of Radio.

The live recording process also went a bit smoother than 2003's Rush In Rio, a one-shot affair that presented several logistical nightmares.

"That was basically cross-your-fingers," Lee says. "With this one, we recorded both nights and there are songs on there from both nights -- so it gives you a bit more comfort. You're a bit more relaxed about it knowing if you screw it up at night one, you can nail it on night two. All in all I think we played very well those two nights."

And unlike groups releasing a combined live CD/DVD package, Rush aren't rushing the DVD portion out until the fall. Lee says the DVD will have the obligatory bonus footage and extras.

"We filmed both nights and it turned out really terrific, we're really quite excited about that," he says.

Rush spent a large chunk of 2007 touring, but they're already on another 49-date North American trek, which kicked off in Puerto Rico on the weekend. They play Canadian shows May 24 in Winnipeg, May 25 in Regina, May 27 in Edmonton, May 29 in Vancouver, June 12 in Montreal and July 9 in Toronto.

Lee says this current leg sees four or five changes in the set list, with some rarities played last year replaced by more signature material.

"We're playing more cities on this tour that we haven't played in quite some time," he says. "And I think those fans kind of want to hear more of the classic tracks."

The request for rarities isn't something the band ignores, but Lee says deciding which ones to dust off isn't an easy process.

"We try them out at rehearsal to see which old songs we can still stomach, and which old songs we can actually improve upon," he says.

Lee also says that the newer songs are often the toughest to pull off in concert, because of their newness and intricacies.

"When we record there are so many layers, that means we have to have a lot of samplers and sequencers that we have to trigger with our feet," he says. "And early in a tour it's always difficult to learn to sing and play at the same time. When you record it you do those things separately."

Rush have a few things in the planning stages, including a new studio album they see somewhere on the horizon. A possible Feedback II covers album of '50s and '60s rock songs is also something Lee doesn't close the door on.

"It would be fun," he says. "I think my manager goes to sleep having dreams that we'll do that. It was really a lot of fun to do and pretty easy. You never know, maybe when we're on the verge of our 50th anniversary."

A Rush documentary is also in the works, but Lee is a bit miffed why anyone would want to film the trio.

"A filmmaker thinks that we're interesting," he says. "We're doing our best to disappoint."


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