For the 14th time in my life, it was with absolute pleasure that I got to see Rush in concert. Looking back to my first Rush concert, Grace Under Pressure in 1984, this band never ceases to amaze me. And amaze me they did on Thursday November 15th. It is very difficult for me to actually pin point a certain tour that I would call my favorite. But with many highlights, Rush keeps coming back with something a little bit better each tour. While attending the Time Machine Tour with my daughter, whose concert was her first, was very special for me being it a Rush concert, I would have to say Clockwork Angels tour is probably one of the best Rush shows I have ever seen.
Many surprises, pleasant surprises, on this tour. The entire first set of the show, Rush did not play one new song. They stuck to the classics as a bit of a warm up leading to the second half. Opening with one of my all time favorite songs, Subdivisions, Rush played many classics following such as Big Money, Force Ten, Body Electric and Analog Kid. Also in the first set was Grand Designs, Territories, Bravado, Where’s My Thing? and Far Cry. Now I mentioned many surprises. One such surprise was drummer Neil Peart’s drum solo coming early in the first set during the song Where’s My Thing?. It was a short drum solo but pleased the crowd none the less. When Peart started his solo I turned to my brother and looked at him and said, “Wow, this is kinda early”. But it was a preview of what was more to come. Peart also did a drum solo in the second set during Headlong Flight and Manhattan Project. It was something different from Peart doing 3 mini drum solos instead of one long one as he is usually accustomed to doing.
Yet another surprise. After the intermission and right before the start of Caravan, a small 8 string orchestra set up behind Peart’s drum set. This is the same stringed orchestra that performed on the Clockwork Angels studio album. Let by conductor David Campbell who has done work going as far back as the 1970’s working with Carole King, Art Garfunkel and Jackson Browne to working with rockers Evanescence, Def Leppard and Aerosmith to name just a few. Kicking off the second set with Caravan, it was something else to see more musicians on stage with this trio. The strings stayed on stage and played 13 songs in a row with Rush. What an experience watching this unfold live. Off the Clockwork Angels album, the second set consisted of Caravan, Clockwork Angels, The Anarchist, Carnies, The Wreckers, Headlong Flight Wish Them Well, Seven Cities of Gold and The Garden. Here are a few videos of the tour with the strings orchestra playing Caravan and The Garden.
After The Garden, came Manhattan Project where Peart played his 3rd and final drum solo. After the solo came another one of my favorites, Red Sector A followed by YYZ and The Spirit of Radio. The encore were the classics Tom Sawyer and 2112/Temples of Syrinx. This was such a powerful show and if you missed Rush on their Clockwork Angels Tour and they come back around to your area, I highly recommend to check out the show.