Re: Neil Peart
Didn't read the whole thread, and it may be far beyond this discussion by now, but on the issue of playing things "note for note" live, it's simply a matter of taste. Some people like to hear things played "note for note", just like the records, live, and some people do not. I'm in the "do not" category. I like Neil's playing a lot, but when I go to a concert, I want to hear something different than the records. It's not a matter of improvisation, necessarily, but at least evolution. There's not a right answer. It's just a different preference.
Also, unless I were making a TON of money doing it, I wouldn't want to be in a band that did things note-for-note live. Once I play or record something, I don't want to study it so I can recreate it. I don't mind still playing those songs, but I want to move on and keep developing them, so that years later, they're transformed into something very different. If someone wants to hear what we played or recorded years ago, they should put on the record.