Born in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada back in 1953, Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson was a teenager right when many famous bands of the 60’s were at the height of their success and he had the chance to see many of them live when they were touring in North America. Rock and Roll Garage selected 3 famous bands that Lifeson had the chance to see when he was young according to interviews he and Geddy Lee gave over the decades.
3 famous bands that Alex Lifeson saw live when he was a teenager
Alex Lifeson had the chance to see the New York hard Rock band Mountain in the early 70s fronted by the late legendary singer and guitarist Leslie West as he recalled in an interview with Sirius XM Classic Vinyl Influences show (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) back in 2013.
He recalled the show when listing the 10 songs that were big influences for him: “When Mountain came out, Mississipi Queen in particular, that album was just so, so, so, heavy for its time, it was really so refreshing.”
“They were so strong. I remember going and seeing them at a theater in Toronto, probably 1970, 1971, something like that, they were quite a big influence on that whole Blues Heavy-Rock movement,” Alex Lifeson said.
Guitarist Jimmy Page was another big influence on Lifeson’s guitar playing that often names the British musician as one of his favorite guitarists. Alex had the chance to see the band live at the age of 16 accompanied by Rush bassist/singer Geddy Lee and the group’s ex-drummer John Rutsey.
In an interview with Classic Rock in 2021, Geddy Lee recalled the experience of seeing Led Zeppelin right after the British band released their first album with Alex Lifeson and said they waited in line for hours to get their tickets: “That was August 18, 1969. They were doing two shows. We were at the first show. I went with John Rutsey (Original Rush drummer) and Alex (Lifeson). It was general admission. We lined up for hours.”
“We got in and we sat in the second row. And I swear they didn’t walk out on stage – they floated out. They literally brought the house down, because by the end of the night there was plaster falling from the ceiling,” Geddy Lee said.
Back in 2017 Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee were the ones responsible to induct the legendary British Progressive Rock band Yes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In his speech, the guitarist recalled that his journey as a fan of the band “For me, my journey with Yes began when I was a teenager gently fishing out the Yes album out of its sleeve being just a bit freaked by the disembodied head on its cover, placing the needle on the groove, sitting back, letting the music wash over me. I may have smoked a cigarette or something, but Yes were my gateway band in so many ways. There’s nothing so fleeting yet enduring about the way music when you’re 17-years-old. ”
It was another band that Lifeson had the privilege of seeing live in Canada when he was young. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine back in 2020, Geddy Lee recalled that YES was the only band that he and Alex Lifeson waited in line all night to buy a ticket. “The first time Yes came to Toronto, my friend Oscar and Alex and myself, we lined up at Maple Leaf Gardens all night to get tickets.”
“We ended up with second-row seats. I’ll never forget that. We drove out. I think it was that same week. They were also playing in Kitchener, Ontario, and saw them out there as well. They still are the only band I’ve lined up all night to see!,” Geddy Lee said.
Born Aleksandar Živojinović in Canada, in 1953, Alex Lifeson made history as Rush guitarist. He was considered the 98th best guitarist of all time by the American magazine Rolling Stone. He is responsible for many legendary riffs and solos.
Extremely versatile, Alex is competent in riffs, solos and textures. Characterized by presenting a precise distribution over the times and a very elaborate rhythmic work. Together with Geddy, he composes the songs of the power trio. Also, one of Alex’s greatest merits was that he created his own style.