Rush latest band to play 'Colbert Report'

Canadian band hasn't appeared on U.S. TV in decades

NEW YORK -- Rush will be appearing on "The Colbert Report," and it's not Limbaugh.

The Canadian band Rush will play their classic "Tom Sawyer" on the Comedy Central show Wednesday (11:30 p.m. ET). The Geddy Lee-led trio, which is on tour, hasn't played on U.S. television since 1975.

Rush is only the latest act to perform on "Colbert," which has steadily edged closer to "Ed Sullivan Show" territory. With increasingly frequent musical performances, "The Report" has grown a variety-show impulse, evident in other upcoming bookings.

The rapper Nas will perform July 23, Toby Keith will return for a second performance July 28, and Crosby, Stills and Nash will play July 30.

The Stephen Colbert-hosted comedy show was originally launched as a parody of conservative political punditry -- and shows like "The O'Reilly Factor" do not make a habit of hosting music performances.

But the "Colbert" circus has expanded into musical realms, often with its sonorous host joining in. John Legend, Neil Young, R.E.M., Tony Bennett, Peter Frampton, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, John Mellencamp, the Roots and Carole King have all performed on the show.

Colbert's enthusiasm for the music has been easily apparent. He's sung "The Star-Spangled Banner" (in two-part harmony) with Legend, and mocked the MTV-style band interview by questioning R.E.M. from a stool twice the size of those the band sat on.