Then of course there was Saturday. Clearly, it was something different from what we've seen in the past. But what do we really know? We know that Neil's playfulness and photo shooting and coming out front was out of character, and there were certainly wisps of finality about that. But we don't know precisely what it meant, and one could argue that the end of the show, while unusual, was not particularly drawn out, and could well have been a sort of hedge; that is, they don't know what lies ahead, and maybe they thought it prudent to do something, just in case it was the end of performing live.
I would posit that we have almost nothing to work with. We know that they've had a very long career and we can speculate that they're ready for a new phase, or that at least that some of them are, but what's really important is that we don't know what they're going to be feeling a little farther down the road. They're playing so beautifully now, and we can guess as some have that they would want to go out on top. But couldn't we also think about that exceptional playing in different way? Would you be inclined to quit something when you can do it so well? And for decades they've had this consistently wonderful outpouring of positive energy at the shows. Though they’ve more than earned the right, can we be so sure that they'd be happy to let that go? As long as we're speculating, I believe that great performers are more likely to be reluctant to close that door for good, unless they have to.
Maybe I'm too optimistic. To be honest, Saturday hit me like a ton of bricks, and I'm sure that that pain is coloring my outlook. This band has meant so much to me for so long---35 years---and it's been difficult for me to come to terms with any level of transition. I know it's coming, and I do feel an enormous sense of gratitude for what we've been given. It's amazing to think that the one band that has been more important to me than any other, since I was 12, has been going strong for all of this time. I've had so many opportunities to see them live, and I enjoy each new album more than the last. I know full well that anything that happens after this is, as my Rush bud describes it, "gravy on top of gravy". If this was indeed the end, I'd be devastated, but I'd also be incredibly grateful.
I would however like to put off that devastation until we hear something more definitive. Perhaps we could keep the door cracked ourselves. I think there's a good chance that we'll hear some new music, and for me that's huge. As to anything more, I think about the documentary, when, in talking about their return in 2002, and that first show in Hartford, Neil says that "I remember saying to Ray afterwards, it would have been a shame if that never happened again". Is it possible that he just doesn't feel that way anymore? Maybe... but I wonder.
Edited by 1-0-0-1-0-0-1, 07 August 2015 - 12:33 AM.
Fixed typos at OP's request