RUSH members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson teamed up with three of modern rock's top drummers Dave Grohl (NIRVANA),Chad Smith (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS) and Danny Carey (TOOL),at last Tuesday night's (September 27) Taylor Hawkins tribute concert at in Los Angeles to perform three classic RUSH tracks.
After an introduction by Jack Black, the RUSH portion of the evening kicked off with "2112 Part I: Overture", the first movement of the 1976 prog-rock epic, with Grohl on drums and THE BIRD AND THE BEE's Greg Kurstin on keyboards. Grohl was then replaced by Smith behind the kit for a rendition of "Working Man". After that, Lee addressed the crowd, saying, "I'd just like to cast back to a moment in time, 2008, when we were contacted by the FOO FIGHTERS to see if we would go down to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and play Taylor Hawkins favorite song with him onstage. That was the beginning of quite a beautiful friendship. So in honor of that and in honor of our own lost brother, we'd like to bring out Danny Carey to play 'YYZ'."
Earlier today, RUSH's official social media channels shared professionally filmed video of the "Working Man" performance from the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in Los Angeles. The legendary Canadian rock band, whose drummer Neil Peart, passed away nearly three years ago after a battle with cancer, also included the following message: "For the first time since August 1st, 2015 we returned to the stage at the LA Forum, scene of the very last performance with our lost brother Neil. This time it was for the second Taylor Hawkins Tribute and sitting behind the throne were 3 wonderful human beings, who also happen to be spectacular drummers.. Dave Grohl, Chad Smith and Danny Carey…. Talk about being spoiled… but the best, yet bittersweet part of this whole deal is that no one would have loved witnessing that more Taylor himself. Rest In Peace Hawk, as we keep Alison, Shane, Annabelle and Everleigh Hawkins along with the entire Foos Family in our thoughts."
Lee and Lifeson previously played the same three tracks at the first Hawkins tribute concert on September 3 at London's Wembley Stadium. Grohl and Omar Hakim handled the drums for that performance.
This past April, Lee reflected on Hawkins's passing in an interview with "House Of Strombo", a free-form radio talk program hosted by Canadian television and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos. Geddy said: "Heartbreaking — just heartbreaking. That really broke my heart, his passing. [He was] so full of file. I remember when he presented the [Rock And Roll] Hall Of Fame award to us in 2013 and we came up on stage, he was literally jumping up and down like a two-year-old — he was jumping up and down, he was so happy — and that was him. He was so full of admiration and rock and roll joy juice. And it just seems wrong that he left us."
Hawkins and FOO FIGHTERS leader Dave Grohl gave the speech for RUSH when the prog-rock legends were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and the FOO FIGHTERS duo then performed "2112" alongside RUSH during the Rock Hall ceremony.
After Stroumboulopoulos asked Lee what Hawkins said to him when he presented him with the Rock Hall award, Geddy said: "He just gave me a big hug. He just sent me an e-mail like a month ago — just checking in. That's what he would do; he would just check in."
When Hawkins's death was first announced in late March, Lee released a statement on social media in which he said: "We are so very shocked and saddened to hear the devastating news of the sudden passing of our musical brother Taylor Hawkins. He was such an incredibly positive source of music, energy and love, and a true artist to his very core…there are simply no words to adequately express just how much he will be missed by all — including Alex, myself and the entire RUSH family. Our hearts, love and sympathy go out to Taylor's family as well the Grohls, and the extended FOOs family…"
In a separate post on his personal Instagram account, Lee reflected on the time he and Lifeson joined the FOO FIGHTERS onstage during a concert in Toronto.
"My heart is truly breaking at the news of Taylor's passing. A sweetheart of a man that radiated good vibes, a love of music, and a total monster on the drums," Lee wrote. "He was so, so happy the night Alex and I came up onstage to play YYZ with him during the FOOs show at the Air Canada Centre on March 23rd, 2008… His excitement was almost impossible for him to contain. Brother, you left us way, way too soon… rest in peace my friend…"
When Peart died in January 2020, Hawkins said in a statement to Rolling Stone: "Neil Peart had the hands of God. End of story."