P1110628web crop-3Was fortunate enough to see two shows on Rush’s Clockwork Angels tour!

The first one, in Toronto, afforded a view from the upper bowl.  The second, which was on the second leg of the tour, was at “The Hammer”.

As many Rush fans already know the Clockwork Angels tour included a string section! The eight players joined Rush onstage for most of the second set.  This enabled rush to reproduce many of the songs it included on that Clockwork Angels album, And it also allowed them to add some different colour and texture to some of their old favourites.

The upper bowl view provided some interesting perspectives, as well as a few challenges from a photography point of view. It was nice to still be able to use my point-and-shoot tool to get both a whole – stage perspective, as well as zoomed in shots on the band.

Here’s a nice perspective on the whole stage:

P1110610web crop And here we are zoomed in on Neil, who is waiting for gravity to provide him a drumstick:P1110628web crop-3 And here is Neil being distracted by Sasquatch:P1110707web cropAlex’s extensive pedal board and 1976 Gibson ES 355. Alex really loves this guitar and it shows that Gibson could make some great axes during the Norlin years!
P1110754web crop Here’s a view of the podium for the eight-member string section, which was located behind and above the goofy Steampunk props that pass for a “backline”:P1110824web cropRush never forgets the Pyro!P1110848web crop-2 Here’s Geddy with a beautiful Fender Jazz Bass in Seafoam Green, with a Tortoiseshell pick guard. This is the first tour that we have seen this bass. Gorgeous!P1110851web crop Alex on a recent Gibson Historic Gold Top Les Paul:P1110885web crop Don’t you just love dry ice? Nice to see Rush bring some of that back for this tour. That used to be ubiquitous for bands in the 70s – just don’t see it that much anymore. I think it adds a really nice atmosphere to a stage presentation.P1110902web cropGeddy in the fog:P1110909web crop Alex with one of his Gibson Access signature Les Pauls. Also note what looks like a 1958 reissue Gibson custom shop Les Paul on one of Alex’s Omega stands (which I believe he holds a patent on):P1110922web crop Alex plays a keyboard solo in “The Garden” – one of Rush’s most beautiful songs ever!P1110933web crop Here’s Geddys set up: a big honking poly-synth (brand unknown), a Moog Little Phatty, and synth-triggering pedals all housed in a Steampunk–themed cabinetP1110953web crop Alex on a Telecaster with a Rosewood fingerboard:P1110972web crop Had a decent angle on Neil:P1110985web crop Here’s Alex creating tomfoolery with the string section:P1120026web crop I think this is Father Time with a Steampunk Gnome?P1120034web crop Neil caught in full drumstick twirl!  I remember reading that he says he does these more when he feels he’s happy!!P1120045web crop The Professor on the drum kit!P1120070web cropWas fortunate enough to be closer to the stage for the show the following July in “The Hammer”!

Got a very nice sequence of pictures that capture the friendship but Alex and Geddy have shared since they were both kids in Elementary School!!  As mentioned in the documentary movie Beyond the Lighted Stage, Alex and Eddie soon discovered that they shared a ‘maniacal love of music’.

It looks like there is no question that continues to this day:

P1130812web crop P1130813web crop P1130814web crop This was a fantastic performance by the band, and they were in great spirits – really into the performance.P1130861web crop P1130862web crop My location allowed me to get a few shots with Alex and Neil:P1130880web crop And some better close-ups!P1130931web cropDidn’t forget the Pyrotechnics here either:
P1130951web crop Stage perspective on the band with a string section.  This angle really gave me some nice views of the fantastic light show. Rush always takes great care in planning and presenting a fantastic light show that is state-of-the-art and always enhances the music. This is one of the main reasons why Rush doesn’t change their set list the lot (that and the fact of their songs are so complex and they insist on having them incredibly well rehearsed). Howard Ungerleider is the man when it comes to designing and operating the light show. Howard has been with the band since the first tour – got to love the loyalty factor with Rush!P1130971web crop P1140059web crop Endlessly rocking!P1140084web crop A foggy day near Lake Ontario:P1140101web crop Another Neil drumstick twirl:P1140119web cropGeddy’s Jazz Bass:P1140132web cropGeddy being accosted by the string section! I bet Rush treated these musicians very well on the tour, and they must’ve had a blast being on the tour.
P1140153web crop It’s always the Cello players!P1140154web crop These are some new high-tech LED lights that were used throughout the show. Very versatile a very bright! Again Rush will always try and include some of the latest technology available for the light show.P1140164web cropThese two scenes capture some of the complexity of the light show, as well as some of the moods that can they create for the music:
P1140198web crop P1140213web crop Neil Peart has a large drum set. It’s so large it’s hard to photograph him! When the drum pedestal rotated 180° and Neil switched to the more electronic second kit there some nice photo ops:P1140228web crop P1140251web crop Alex and Neil:P1140281web crop P1140304web crop P1140359web crop More light show enhancements:P1140373web crop P1140375web cropAlex back on the 355 and Geddy’s on his old mid-70s Jazz Bass:
P1140377web crop A great show, and the fans really appreciated it!

P1140385web cropRush are all now into their sixties.  That, at some point, is going to run into their uncompromising desire to put on a long, complex, and high level performance every night.  We are so lucky to have had the chance to see them through the years, and, if all goes well. we may see them again in 2015.  Alex has stated there very possibly will be a tour and there may be more of an emphasis on deeper cuts! I say, bring on Jacob’s Ladder, Xanadu, and Lakeside Park!

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