Primus kicked off their A Tribute to Kings tour last night in Boise, Idaho, debuting their full-album live version of Rush’s A Farewell to Kings.
After an opening eight-song set of their own biggest hits, the trio played Rush’s acclaimed 1977 album in full and in original sequence. You can see video of Primus’ entire A Farewell to Kings set below.
A Tribute to Kings was originally scheduled for 2020 before being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly before the trek, frontman Les Claypool posted an Instagram photo of himself and Rush’s Geddy Lee holding their respective bass guitars. Claypool’s caption, which seemingly previewed the tour, read, “Learning from the master.”
Upon announcing the jaunt, Claypool clarified to Rolling Stone that he received Lee’s blessing. “I texted with him — I keep in touch with Geddy — just to make sure we weren’t trodding on something weird,” he said. “So I checked in with him to see what he thought of it, and he was excited about the notion. … He thought it was a great idea.”
The two bands have a long history, with Primus having opened for Rush in 1992. And for Claypool — who first saw the prog-rock band live during the 1978 Hemispheres tour — the tribute concept took on more weight following the 2020 death of Rush drummer Neil Peart.
“We’re trying to be as sensitive as we possibly can, so it doesn’t appear like we’re just jumping on the, ‘Hey, a superhero has died, let’s go out and do a tribute to him’ type thing,” he said. “It’s about admiration for these amazing musicians and friends.”
Watch Primus Perform Rush’s ‘Closer to the Heart,’ ‘Cinderella Man’ and ‘Cygnus X-1’