Sarnia, Ontario — Canadian musician Geddy Lee made an appearance today at the at Sarnia’s Lambton Mall playing a variety instruments in a “one man band” configuration called “Doctor Lee’s One Man Band.” The famous multi-instrumentalist, who is known as the lead singer for the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, was largely ignored by mall goers who didn’t seem to recognize the famous musician.
“I was just trying to American Eagle,” said 17-year-old Alicia Murphy who seemed annoyed that Mr. lee was blocking the entrance to her favorite store. “You know, this is why everyone is shopping online because they don’t want to be harassed by all these people asking for money.”
According to several shoppers, Mr. Lee setup a small ensemble featuring a Ukulele, horn, a few cymbals and foot-controlled snare drum. His set included a variety of crowd-pleaders including “Smoke on the Water,” “Brown-eyed Girl,” and a particular rocking rendition of “Old MacDonald,” which pleased many children in attendance.
Missing were his trademark Rickenbacker bass guitar and keyboards, which some speculate is why he was mistaken for an ordinary street musician.
“We came out and there was this guy really jamming,” said Peter Bartholemew who admitted he was a huge Rush fan, but failed to recognize Geddy Lee. “I mean, I’ve never seen a street musician play like that. As a joke, I shouted out ‘play YYZ‘ [a famously difficult Rush standard], and he started playing it. I yelled at him, ‘Hey, that’s just like Geddy plays it,’ and he winked and smiled at me. I’m such an idiot for not recognizing him.”
According to a spokesperson for the band, this is not the first time Mr. Lee has made such undercover public appearances. He’s had similar performances in the past, including one rather famous gig on the Atlantic City, NJ boardwalk back in 1981 when he was joined by an incognito Bruce Springsteen. The pair performed several rock standards and earned approximately $67.35 in change which was tossed into a beat-up guitar case.
“Geddy likes getting out,” said band spokesperson Bethany Millbright. “I mean, does this surprise anyone? Living on the lighted stage gets tiring after a while; It’s unreal. And this is one way he connects with the people beyond the gilded cage of the limelight. It’s a grassroots thing and he finds it inspiring.”
According to Ms. Millbright, Mr. Lee and his one man band does not have any additional mall gigs planned, but even if he did, he would not let the public know. Ms. Millbright also declined to state how much money he made during his 2 hour Lambton Mall gig.