RUSH Live at HP Pavilion for the Clockwork Angels Tour
Last Thursday night I cruised over the hill to the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. to see the Canadian Rock Titans RUSH perform their Clockwork Angels tour. Having missed them the last few times they were on the road (still pissed about missing the "Moving Pictures Tour") I was looking forward to an evning full of incredible musicianship, opera like falsetto, and some of the best Progressive Rock music this world has ever seen.
I arrived around 8pm which was halfway through the first set (The photographers weren't allowed to go in until the 2nd set started.) We were all let in during the end of the first set and so I was able to listen to the Neil Peart drum solo at the end of "Where's My Thing?" right before rolling into "Far Cry" and an audience erruption of applause right before intermission.
Once we were allowed into the pit we were greeted by a collection of stage oddities plucked right out of a freaky rock and roll side show. There were brains floating in tubes, and elements of gears and clocks (this is the clockwork angels tour after all) scattered throughout the stage. Eventually the lights went dim, and a video was projected onto the giant screen behind the stage. I am assuming that this video was a continuation of a film that started in the 1st set (but not having seen the first set, I don't know for sure). The theme was that of a "tax man" played by young canadian heart throb (is there such a thing?), Jay Baruchel, trying to get information from the "Watchmaker". However no matter where he goes, he is confronted and confounded by 3 tiny Gnomes played by none other than Geddy, Neil, and Alex.
After the brief video interlude, The Clockwork Angels String Ensemble emerged from below the stage and all three members of RUSH walked on stage for the beginnning of Caravan, and what followed them was an onslaught of close to two hours of fantastic proggie and rock classics. If you are familiar with RUSH, you will know that the visual story telling is just as important as the lyrics they weave. In order to understand fully, you have to really experience the band live, but some highlights were definitely the cartoon imagery (somewhat reminiscent of "Monty Python") of a ship braving a crazy storm matched with the flickering light lasers to simulate rain during "Wreckers". As well as the Moving LCD panels that captured a flowing arrow through an ever expanding garden scene.
All in all I think the most exciting part of the show for me personally was the execution of Part 1, 2 & 7 of the Trios futuristic epic "2112". If you have never seen RUSH live, I highly recommend checking them out during this or any upcoming tours. The great thing about this band is that they love playing live, and they are almost always on tour somewhere. I will leave you with a quote ripped straight from Chester Cheetah (well at least Seth MacFarlane's version) "There is no f*&!@ng better drummer better than Neil Peart!"