1) I don't know the technical specifics, but from what I remember reading, the only equipment Geddy uses some piece of equipment that's "Small enough to fit on a chair." He doesn't use anything else because his sound usually comes through the PA (I find this very ironically hilarious since Geddy has the LOUDEST live bass presence I've ever heard. On most live albums you have to put effort into listening for the bass, whereas on Rush's live albums you have to put effort into listening for the guitar). As a result, he doesn't want his side of the stage to be empty so he just puts wacky shit up there every tour.
2) I feel so bad for Alex, I feel that one of the reasons that Geddy and Neil are at the top of their respective heaps is because you don't really have a lot of drum heroes and bass heroes. I mean seriously, besides the guys in The Who and Led Zeppelin (and Tool for you ADD) name one bass player or drummer in rock that is worshipped solely for their playing, without the stigma of their band on such a world renowned level. Steve Harris is a phenominal bass player of course, but I can't remember ever seeing him on the cover of Bass player magazine. Their simply aren't that many "Bass or drum heroes" in the world.
In this sort of department, Alex is totally fucked. He has to compete with Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page and fuck knows how many others for the "Guitar Hero" spotlight. Alex will never ever be in a top 20 "guitarists lists," not because he isn't any good, because nobody in their right mind is gonna have the balls to say that he's a better player than those guys. Not in this world of magazine politics and opinions being bought.
3) Get Hemispheres next, Pavo. Absolutely one of, if not their best album(s). It doesn't have any "anthems" to make it a complete "rock" experience, but if its masterful bass playing you want....
I listened to three Babymetal tracks...sounds like Chun Li getting butt-fucked by Andrew W.K. That's not something I ever wanted to hear.