“Alex and I were looking for one of Gordon’s songs that might better suit our style, and we found that in The Way I Feel”: Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee make surprise appearance at Gordon Lightfoot tribute concert

Alex Lifeson (left) and Geddy Lee perform onstage with Rush in 2013
(Image credit: Getty Images / Frederick Breedon)

Rush’s surviving members, guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Geddy Lee, made a surprise appearance at a Gordon Lightfoot tribute concert in Toronto last week (May 23), putting a progressive spin on his track, The Way I Feel.

The event at Toronto’s Massey Hall celebrated the music and legacy of the Canadian singer-songwriter, a year after his passing at the age of 84. 

The identity of the Rush men was kept secret in the lead-up to the event, with their performance billed under the red herring name of “L+L.” The rouse was given up, to the delight of the audience, as they joined the Canadian alt-country band Blue Rodeo on stage. 

They ran through a Rush-ified version of Lightfoot’s 1966 track, with the pair singling it out for its ability to be molded to their iconic playing styles.   

“It was important for us to pay tribute to Gordon,” Lee told Variety after their set. “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.” 

He went on to reveal that Lightfoot's daughter, Meredith [Moon], had reacted to the performance by saying, “Leave it to Rush to make The Way I Feel sound prog.’” 

To that, Lee joked, “I think we succeeded.” 

Lifeson donned his PRS SE Alex Lifeson Thinline signature acoustic guitar for the song before they returned to the stage for an ensemble version of Lightfoot’s Summerside of Life on a packed-out stage.

While Lifeson may be putting his energy into his Lerxst gear brand nowadays, this isn’t the first time the pair have taken to the stage since the untimely passing of drummer Neil Peart. 

They tore through some classic Rush tracks with Dave Grohl at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in 2022, with Lifeson also recently revealing that he and Lee have been jamming together. Lifeson, though, played down claims Rush could return to the stage, saying, “We sound like a really bad tribute band.” 

To explore Alex Lifeson’s hugely influential playing style, check out Guitar Player’s guide to his genius chord voicings

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.