Why tour in the middle of recording an album?
Everybody was kind of itching to get on the road and try and get in "peak playing form" before we recorded the bulk of the record, just to see what that effect is. In a way, we have this tendency to take a long period of time off, and then we kind of get our chops together and then go record. We thought it's kind of ass-backwards really, because when you finish a long tour, you're in such amazing playing shape that really, that's the time you should go in and start laying down tracks. But of course, you're exhausted by then, so we're trying to figure out if there's another way of attacking it.
Do you think playing Moving Pictures in its entirety may influence the new material?
It's hard to say, I think it's going to be an interesting challenge to play some of those songs, especially "The Camera Eye," a song we haven't played in years and years. Obviously, we'll probably do a slightly newer take on it. You never know what effect bringing older songs back has on you. There are times in the past that we thought, "There is no way we can make this song work," and then you get into rehearsal, you start playing it, and you're really pleasantly surprised how much you're enjoying it. And sometimes it takes on a whole new life.I think we've stopped being kind of cynical about our past in a way, and sometimes having a second look at an older song gives it a whole new story.
What about recording the song “Tom Sawyer”?
“Tom Sawyer” was in many ways the most difficult song to record on that record. I remember even though the writing of the song came together pretty quickly, putting it down on tape was a little difficult. We were trying different sounds, and going with a whole different approach to lyrics — the kind of spoken word thing, getting the right sound for Alex's guitar, and so on. It was kind of a dark horse. And then in the mixing, it all came together. When we finished it, we were so pleased with what happened, because we kind of had the least expectations of it, because of the difficulty we had.I think a lot of musicians probably go through a similar thing, where they have this one song that they beat themselves up over, and then the next thing you know, it's their biggest song.
The other interview is Alex Lifeson talking to Time Out New York, where he reveals that Jacob's Ladder will also be played on this tour:
You’re about to go on the road playing the entirety of 1981’s Moving Pictures, including the 11-minute-long “The Camera Eye.” How do you keep it fresh?
“Tom Sawyer” could have been written eight months ago, with the kind of response it still gets. We’re bringing a bunch of other old stuff back, “Jacob’s Ladder,” too. We’re rearranging it slightly, as with “The Camera Eye,” changing a couple of things, having another crack at it. It’s going to be a lot of fun for us.
Holy shit, I never thought I would ever see this. Rush in 2010 playing Moving Pictures all the way through, Jacob's flipping Ladder, and new unreleased material. I am so stoked to have tickets for this show!
Both interviews are great, by the way. If you are a fan, read them both all the way through.