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1974 Rush Concert to Be Released on CD

Geddy Lee
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Rush‘s first recorded broadcast with then new-drummer Neil Peart, which aired in August of 1974 on Cleveland-based radio station WMMS, is set to be released. It’s due out on CD in the UK on Oct. 24.

WMMS is often credited with being a big part of the early success of the group and the station broadcast two Rush concerts that year: the August gig and also a December show, both of which were held at the Cleveland Agora.

Donna Halper was a key component of that success as the music director at WMMS during that time period. She remembers the broadcast via a comment posted at RushIsABand. She says, “One of my proudest moments was when Geddy looked out at me during that Agora Ballroom concert and dedicated ‘Working Man’ to me.”

She continued, “Some of you know the back-story, the reason why he did that. I can’t write it here for a number of reasons, but those who know are aware how much it meant to me. And thus began a 38-year friendship with the guys, one for which I am deeply grateful.”

As we await the eventual release of the new Rush ‘Time Machine’ live DVD/Blu-ray, bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee is also sharing a bit of insight into the method behind his madness for performing live.

Rush generates a lot of sound when you consider that there’s only three guys on stage. When Costco Connection asked Lee if he’d ever thought about sharing the workload, not surprisingly, his answer fell into the “yes” column.

Lee said, “Oh, yeah. [laughs] I used to bring it up at the beginning of every tour because there were times when it felt quite daunting to have to deal with all the electronic apparatus when I really just wanted to sing and play bass.

“So, yeah, I’ve had to wrestle with that question quite often. But, in the end, we’re quite a tight unit, the three of us. And we just kind of figure that our fans would rather see us up there with our technology rather than see us fill up the stage with sidemen. We opted to go the difficult route. But I did get them [guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart] to share some of the sequencing responsibilities. So that helps a bit.”

Lee does acknowledge that it can be difficult to combine the musical riffing with the vocal melodies, because there are times when the two parts are composed independently of each other. That leads to a later mental moment when it’s necessary to figure out how to put it all together.

To celebrate Geddy’s recent birthday at the end of July, we ranked the Top 10 Best Rush Albums using a scientific process involving…well, we basically just turned ’em up really loud and made the list from there. Then, we took a look at the 5 Best Alex Lifeson Rush Songs in honor of the guitarist’s birthday.

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