Review: Rush – Clockwork Angels Tour

The ‘countdown’ is over Rush fans! Just like ‘clockwork’, following their latest studio album: ‘presto’! They released a live one recorded during the subsequent tour. While I have the MP3 version, I’m not entirely a ‘digital man’ so I made a ‘headlong flight’ to the store to grab the CD version. In the wake of my ‘vapor trail’ I realized this is the ninth live album put out by the band. Did we need yet another one? I think I speak for all Rush fans when I say that I couldn’t ‘resist.’

As always, Rush decided to ‘animate’ their performance by trying something new. They ‘rolled the bones’ and decided ‘circumstances’ were right to include some ‘different strings’ on the album. While this may seem like ‘heresy’ to some fans, ‘entre nous’, it was a hit! The Clockwork Angels String Ensemble had one ‘superconductor’. They responded to the ‘limelight’ through great ‘chemistry’ with the rest of the band. If the group aspired to make classics such as “Dreamline”, “YYZ” and “Red Sector A” sound fresh as ever: ‘mission’ accomplished!

Can Alex, Geddy, and Neal still rock after all these years? Have the ‘scars’ of ‘time and motion’ ‘between the wheels’ of their tour bus taken a toll on their performances under ‘the camera eye’? ‘You bet your life’ they ‘face up’ to the challenge of putting out a quality live album worthy of their reputation. They ‘show don’t tell’ that ‘dog years’ haven’t affected them one bit.

As the album opened, they ‘cut to the chase’. “Subdivisions” lead into “Big Money”. The band then varied it up with numerous tracks out of the ‘archives’. My favorite new addition to the Rush repertoire was “The Body Electric”. The last several tours Rush went into Reggae mode on “Working Man”. On this live recording they kicked the Funk into overdrive with this cut from Grace Under Pressure. I felt ‘tears’ welling in my eyes as the boys sounded like Chic on steroids with the way they rocked out on this track.

The recording also included most of the tracks from the Clockwork Angels CD. What a variety! There was the “Bastille Dayesque” “Headlong Flight”, the softer “The Wreckers” and the orchestral “The Garden”. I felt let down that the band chose to leave off “BU2B” and “BU2B2” from the studio recording. I thought they were among the strongest tracks on Clockwork Angels, so I’m not sure why they chose to leave in ‘limbo’ for the live recording. I’m hoping there’s a ‘ghost of a chance’ they play them in concert at some point.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m going on a ‘witch hunt’, but I did have a slight issue with the song selection. It was a ‘sweet miracle’ the way they balanced the old with the newer songs. They played 5 of 8 tracks off of 1985’s Power Windows. That wasn’t one of the better CDs in the Rush catalog. I thought I was ‘losing it’ while sitting through all these synthesizer driven cuts. Doing so was ‘one little victory’ for my patience.

Listening to The Clockwork Angels Tour made me wish ‘time could stand still’ or ‘freeze’, but I did manage to ‘stick it out’ and listen to the whole recording at one sitting. The CD proved that Rush are more than merely players. They put out yet another strong effort with enough variety to appeal to both older and newer fans. They deserve ‘a show of hands’ for this effort. It’s an ‘open secret’ that we can’t ‘turn the page’ on Rush just yet. And ‘that’s how it is.’

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