2012 CLOCKWORK ANGELS TOUR
Mon, Oct 22 @ Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
REVIEWS AND POST-SHOW ANALYSIS: The show is over - what did you think? Give your review or just recount your experience.
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Posted 11/09/2012 7:34 AM by JaredMax
After reading over what I wrote about the Rush shows I attended in Manchester, Newark and Brooklyn -- along with several other posts here -- I wanted to add a few points.
I am a gigantic Rush fan. I don't know anyone who's a bigger Rush fan than I am. Sure, there are guys who've been to 175 concerts and have spent two or three years of salary on Rush, but my connection to the band and level of appreciation for what they've given me since I was 9 years old cannot be Smurfed by any. Since I began at ESPN New York May, 2011, every show begins with The Spirit of Radio -- mixing in the daily sports highlights. I also use Malignant Narcicissim as a second highlight music bed. 2112 and The Anarchist have also served as regular 2nd-montage songs. I spread the gospel everyday on 98.7FM in New York City and hear $#!+ for it regularly. I'd hate to think that a harsh concert review would cause any hurt to the guys in the band - or anyone who's part of the tour. They work their asses off, and, they do a show better than anyone.They are role models to me, they are heroes. I'm just another super-dork fan who wants things to go HIS way -- and gets frustrated when piping anticipation of a new tour is met by head-scratching disappointment over a setlist that seems far less produced than anything Rush does. Even if they'd played the exact same setlist on this tour -- but, in a way that made the show easier to digest, they'd have served themselves and the fans better.
I love "Clockwork Angels" and would have no problem if every song was played -- except for BU2B part 2. But, if the album isn't played from start to finish -- in the order it appears on the album -- why is there a need to play nine consecutive songs from "CA" -- to the point that Geddy (sensing the crowd) announced before "The Garden" in Brooklyn: "Thanks for being patient with us"? Hey Ged, my brutha, if YOU felt it, you know that we felt it. So, shake it up in the next leg of the tour. How cool would it be if the concert opened with "Headlong Flight"? Then hit Subdivisions. Swap out a couple of the mid 80s selections for other B-sides from that era and others. If you are asked a hundred Rush fanatics "What is the best song on Grace Under Pressure AFTER the hits Distant Early Warning and Red Sector A, the overwhelming response --I strongly suspect -- would be "Kid Gloves" -- not Between The Wheels or The Enemy Within. Then again, many fans' favorites are my least faves. So, who the hell knows?!
Bottom line is that any Rush show is a great show. No one who takes the time to read this site regularly would say otherwise.
Not only is Rush our favorite band, they're also great teachers. One question I'd love to ask Geddy or Alex (since Neil is seemingly off limits): "Is Neil aware of - and, how does he feel about the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of grown men in North America and around the world whose lives/morals/ideals have been greatly shaped by Neil's writings -- essentially, making Neil an unofficial surrogate father to countless beings"?
Since every Rush show I attended on this tour ended with Geddy's usual "We hope to see you again sometime in the future", I'm confident there WILL be another Rush tour. But, if the setlist is as questionable as it is on this tour, I'll see one concert -- not three. This is my point: Rush DID lose part of its audience on this tour. We've read reviews here -- we've spoken to people who hated the show. It's hard to hear it, but I understand it. Those people will not be rushing back to see the next tour. I will. But, it's because I'm addicted to Rush and still chasing that first high of experiencing the band, live. Still, I have to side with a great ESPN philosophy: "PLAY THE HITS". Rush has so many hits, it can play a large sampling and still have time for B-sides. But, jeez -- for the love of Christmas, can we please get some better selections that rock and will send crowds into frenzies -- not to the concession stands.
Posted 10/28/2012 5:41 AM by nycnick
Ok - to start, this show dominated the Newark show on Saturday...the energy, jamming, and general awesomeness was better than 90% of the shows I have seen. The previous weekend, I saw Warren Haynes which is basically a jam fest. I don't expect that at a Rush show...they largely stick to the "script" of the album versions which is great - we want to hear what we know.
This was the first time I have walked away from a show feeling like I heard the band letting loose. I was with a guy who is a big music lover, but not a Rush fan, more of a Phish/jam band guy. During Headlong Flight he asked for the name of the song, which I turned over with the disclaimer that the album version was nothing like what he was hearing. His comment after the show was amazement at the pure musicianship of the band.
I am a big jam band guy as well and after seeing every tour since Roll the Bones (my first concert ever, my dad at my side), the one thing I never heard (or felt) was improv during the show. It was always awesome, but in the end it was the album versions jazzed up a bit. Not complaining mind you, but I just knew what to expect.
This show was unique in that the intangible "energy" was in full effect for all the guys - they just let loose and delivered what should be the live album from the tour. The Newark show was dry and formulaic - the studio album versions played at a high volume.
As for the setlist, my favorite stuff has always been the synth heavy sounds so the current tour is right up my alley. I haven't yet seen a comment about the ridiculous 2nd drum solo - Neil took his playing to a new level with the electronic kit. He has incorporated samples for ages, but this was a whole new level. Purists will say that this isn't "drumming", but the complexity of what he did - the samples, triggering, etc. is just staggering. He is without question the most technically proficient drummer of all time, this solo is him being so good that the limitations of drum heads and symbols were frustrating and he found a way to reinvent what a drummer is.
Sorry about the long diatribe, but reading the forums and reviews and the general negativity forced my hand. I rarely post reviews, but the bottom line is that these guys are performing at their highest level ever (granted, it may not be every night) and the whining about the set lists was pissing me off.
If you were at this show and didn't see the magic, you really don't deserve to be allowed into another show.
Posted 10/24/2012 2:52 PM by boneroller
I am sick and tired of people dissing what Rush did in the 80s. Get over it!!!!!! How many times do you need to hear "Limelight", "Freewill" or "Closer to the Heart." There's classic rock radio for that. They've been playing tons of old gems over the past several tours and have not played most of this material since those albums were released 25+ years ago.
Personally speaking, these songs have been on my wish list for years and I'm glad they had the balls to play so much of it. My reaction? "Play another one!"
Jeez, a bunch of freakin' whiners.
Posted 10/24/2012 2:50 PM by bytorandthesnowcone
OK now that there's a youtube of the 2112 incident, for the record at 4:50 in the video he realizes his guitar is out, he yells to crew, runs over, (camera turns elsewhere), he dances a quick jig, (Camera turns elsewhere again and we see Geddy looking over wondering where Alex is), gets a guitar back at 5:30, then yells again "its not on" and at 5:35 it gets turned on...so 45 seconds total
Posted 10/24/2012 12:54 PM by cardcarryingmember
I feel the need to defend Rush in light of JaredMax's crushing review. I don't defend the band under all circumstances, but here are some facts to keep in mind:
1) They just did two years of touring playing mostly older material, including ALL of MP. Two years IN A ROW.
2) The new album is absolutely, mind-bogglingly amazing, a quality work most rock musicians their age have no ability whatsoever to create.
3) Their large backlog of underplayed material (that dates from their mature period, i.e. after Permanent Waves) mostly dates from the 80s, and they feel that was an important period for them, even if many fans don't. Which leads to point number 4.....
4) Most importantly (and JaredMax states this in his review, but doesn't seem to fully grasp it): THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT. They answer to NOBODY. They never have, not even to the fans. Geddy has stated for decades that Power Windows is among their finest works, up there with 2112 and Moving Pictures. Now I would have preferred some Counterparts tracks such as Cut To The Chase or Cold Fire, but if they didn't feel like they could play it with conviction, who am I to argue? As always, we are at their mercy. Period.
Now, one thing I can agree on is the pacing. They didn't have to play all those songs from Power Windows and Grace Under Pressure one right after the other, nor did they need to play nearly the entirety of Clockwork Angels in the second set. They obviously weren't trying to go in order to tell the story of the album, because they mixed it up. So mixing up some CA material in both sets would have helped the variety a lot.
But I LOVED hearing Territories again, and wish I could hear Middletown Dreams. I feel this way for the same reason I'm glad they played nearly all of Clockwork Angels: I CAN'T AFFORD TO GO TO MORE THAN ONE RUSH SHOW ON A TOUR. It's simply not going to happen. I paid an enormous amount for what in past years would have been front row seats, but this time got me only on the second level (thank goodness this new Brooklyn arena is small!). So please, spare me your anger about having to hear most of what many people agree is up there with Moving Pictures as one of the finest albums Rush has ever produced. Had they split it up among more nights I would have heard less of it.
Oh, and somebody else mentioned the "difficulty" in getting to Barclays. Again, spare me: the place is almost on top of the Atlantic Ave. LIRR terminal. How much more convenient do you want it to be, unless you're addicted to your car? I was very happy: I live two subway stops away and was home in time to be in bed by 11:30.
Posted 10/23/2012 3:58 PM by nevets101
I was sitting near Alex's side of the stage when his guitar went out during Temples Of Syrinx. When Alex went to stage right for help, his tech wasn't immediately responsive. Alex screamed "Guitar! ... I need a guitar!", then looked exasperated. He did his little jig not once, but twice while he waited over a minute to get a replacement. He got the replacement with only about 20 seconds left in the song.
It appeared that the techs were busy packing his guitars and equipment away, and didn't even notice Alex at first. Considering that there was only about five minutes left to the show, perhaps this was their standard practice. A bit of bad luck, but I am sure that from now on, backup instruments will no longer be packed away until the show is completely over.
Posted 10/23/2012 1:12 PM by bytorandthesnowcone
Couldn't agree more with the setlist comments from the reviewer who posted 2 & 5 (I saw them earlier in the tour, not last night).
One thing I'm curious about is the 2112 guitar problem. Could anyone tell if he emerged with the same guitar? I ask because 2112 uses a tuned-down guitar, to make it easier for Geddy to sing these days. So maybe they only had one of those, figuring what could go wrong if its used on just one song at the very end? If so, somewhat of a rookie mistake if you consider the downside seeing that they were wrong, to kill the energy at the very very end of the whole show.
I also noticed at the show I saw that the guy who does all the guitar setups (who I remember from that backstage video on rush's tour crew) was not the one who was running the guitars out to Alex between each song - at my show the setup guy was not seen during the show. So I wonder which one of them had to fix this?
Posted 10/23/2012 9:10 AM by JaredMax
Now - some great notes on the last couple of nights.
For starters, the Newark show was significantly better than Brooklyn. The audio was marginally better in NJ, but the band's energy was markedly stronger at Prudential Center -- no doubt, feeding off the crowd. In Brooklyn, the show became flat for a period of time. Maybe my experience had something to do with my seat location. In Newark, 6th row dead center. In Brooklyn, I sat in the 6th row of the lower bowl, Geddy-side. Being so close to the stage among the jumping fans is more my speed. I had a ton of fun in Newark. Two nights later, the show well in Brooklyn, but, by the sixth song (third in a row of B-side purgatory) the audience had lost its charge -- only to be temporarily shocked back to life at different points.
The strings section was on-point. Maybe it's because I was seated off the floor and in better speaker placement, but for the first time I was able to hear separation between Rush and the strings. I loved that the strings were stripped down on "The Garden" for the first verse and again after the chorus. I loved how well the strings section was choreographed -- opposed to how they appeared opening night. They were great. They looked like they belong. Reminded me of what I'd hoped for with this addition in concert -- something of a Trans-Siberian Orchestra feel.
I think the NJ setlist was far superior to what was played in Brooklyn. It flowed so much better. "Dreamline" is a no-brainer over "Manhattan Project" to follow the Clockwork set. I love "Manhattan Project", but it barely lifted the crowd in Brooklyn from the Clockwork marathon. I love "Wish them Well" and don't understand why they don't play this upbeat song every show. I felt the same about "Ceiling Unlimited" a few tours ago. "Carnies" rocked -- as did "Headlong Flight" -- which I think stands up to the greatest hard rock songs Rush has constructed. If the band stripped "The Wreckers" to a degree it tried with "The Garden" last night, it'd sound much more poignant.
"Where's My Thing" was a favorite in each of the three shows I attended. The three drum solos were an excellent breath of fresh air -- opposed to one lengthy gem. The idea to play songs not played in decades was wonderful -- I only wish they'd picked better songs.
The energy of the crowd during "The Spirit of Radio" should make psychologists consider Rush concerts as treatment for clinical depression. The hand-clapping moment never loses its luster, creating a unison between band and fan that encapsulates Rush.
Lastly, Ged, Alex and Neil were at their playing peak. Ged's voice shined the last two nights. There is no reason they shouldn't make another album -- and then tour with a salute to the fans, playing the greatest Rush songs ever.
Posted 10/23/2012 9:07 AM by quiglet
Wow! What a show! My first impression of last night's show in Brooklyn at the brand new Barclays Center was "Best. Show. Ever." Now, that title may or may not hold after some serious introspection, but that's what I was thinking several times last night.
I've seen Rush 30+ times and have seen great shows (like last night) and less than great shows, like Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
Last night everything seemed to click. The sound was significantly better than in Newark - that may have to do with significantly better seats (Section 7, row 4), but on Saturday night, I could not hear Geddy's bass - not at all for the 1st set and only somewhat for the second set. This made songs like "The Anarchist" sound hollow and "The Pass" weak.
I liked the set list last night better, too. There was a definite groove throughout the night. Everyone in my section was rocking, grooving and dancing the night away. "Grand Designs", "Territories", "Bravado", all worked really well together. Whatever you think about the choice of songs, the 80s represent a large and important period for Rush and it was great to hear those great songs that were written from the time when I became a Rush fan. We've heard "The Trees", "Xanadu", "La Villa" dozens of times. I love that they mix it up.
Rush played with the passion and energy of a hot new band on thier first big tour.. They clearly love what they do. The drums were like thunder and Alex's guitar sound is clearer than it's ever been. The video screens and lighting were art by themselves - the rain growing progressively worse during "The Wreckers" until the clouds part and the morning sun rises - beautiful.
There was something else I noticed for the first time last night: Hipsters! There were not an awful lot, but you couldn't help but notice the twenty and thirty-somethings in hipster garb at what was clearly their first Rush show. Rush is still - 40 years later - adding new fans and I think that it fantastic. The show wasn't sold out, but it was close. Fat 45 year-olds with grey hair, tweens and teens, plenty of females, hipsters, etc. It seems to me that Rush is more popular and has a more diverse audience than ever.
Finally I'd like to give major kudos to the staff at the Barclays Center. They were friendly, courteous and professional - a welcome relief from MSG and the Jersey venues. I'm looking forward to seeing more shows at my favorite new concert venue.
Leaving the show last night, I was very happy for me and my friends. I was very happy for Rush. And I was very happy for Brooklyn.
Posted 10/23/2012 8:37 AM by twon
i thought the show was fantastic.
here's the interesting thing (for me). i had 3rd row center for the prudential show on saturday. at barclay, a buddy of mine got the tickets and we sat on the floor in the back, section f6. not a fan of the floor unless i'm in the first 10 rows. my buddy brought two other friends. it was interesting our differences of opinion regarding the show.
i loved last nights show. for some reason, the sound was better in section f6 than it was at 3rd row center. perhaps because the speakers are directly overhead? at barclay, i could actually HEAR the clockwork angels string section, that i have to say i thought were absolutely FANTASTIC. total dynamite (especially my red head girlfriend "ginger" that i fell in love with at prudential with the tattoos down the right arm and over the right chest; more on her later). anyway, i thought the sound was great last night, and LOUD. 3rd row center at prudential, it was as if i couldn't even hear alex's guitar for many songs, which bummed me out. also, as alluded to, at 3rd row center i definitely couldn't appreciate the strings.
the people i went with had varying opinions. two of them thought the sound was horrible. i thought it was fantastic (and LOUD), and could not have been happier.
as for the barclay centre itself, it was my first time there. i liked the arena, but the location in brooklyn is a bit of a pain for a long island snob, like me. still beat having to to go to newark. no offense to anyone from jersey. love you all.
strings: in my opinion, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, PHENOMENAL. so did NOT get to appreciate that 3rd row center. i thought there were many songs they were fantastic on, but a few that i definitely remember are: manhattan project, headlong flight, and yyz. again, a shout out to my girl "ginger". no doubt the long blonde hair chick was smokin' as well, but no one gets down like ginger. that chick is so into it. love her moves. total bad ass. (i love you, ginger!).
my buddy's friend didn't like the strings at all.
they played set list A. i honestly can't complain. since i was loving the sound and the stings so much, i enjoyed the setlist. truth be told, i probably preferred setlist B. the bummer was, i didn't actually stick around for songs like the body electric, which i probably should have, since i didn't see it at the prudential. but i felt it was a good time to refill with some beers, and get ready for other songs i really loved and didn't want to miss; like analog kid, which was fantastic.
again, favorite songs of the night for me were: HEADLONG FLIGHT, WHERE'S MY THING, ANALOG KID. also really enjoyed SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD. i happened to LOVE the song THE GARDEN. so for me, that was a highlight at both shows. one of my friends buddy's "hated all the slow stuff". i think he was particularly talking about THE GARDEN. it's amusing, because we all had different reactions to the songs, the sound, and the strings.
now i have a confession to make, which i didn't want to admit to when i wrote my prudential review. before having seen both shows, i was pretty disappointed with the set lists they had chosen. moreover, i was not a big fan of the clockwork angels album at all.
good news for me- i have done a total 180 on that. i can't stop listening to the set lists and clockwork angels. i have a total new appreciation for the clockwork angels album, than i did, particularly prior to the second show i saw at barclay. i think HEADLONG FLIGHT is a phenomenal tune. alex's guitar work is godlike. that dude is SUCH an underrated guitarist (as i believe either neil or geddy, had said before).
poor alex: i'm sure everyone has read ad nauseum about how alex's guitar kicked out during 2112. here's the thing. i think the dude handled it like the consummate professional. the little jig he did by the side of the stage was CLASSIC lerxst. i couldn't help but smile at total alex lifeson humor/entertainment. TOTAL professional. while he was certainly "peeved", i have seen him MUCH angrier. a few years back, something happened with his guitar and he looked like he wanted to MURDER his guitar techs. i have to admit/ask a question though, with all due respect, wtf with the guitar techs last night? i am not a musician, i don't play an instrument, but i would THINK that, if ANYTHING, the numero uno responsibility for any guitar tech would to be to have the second guitar READY AND WAITING AT EACH SONG. no?
bottom line: loved it. thought they were fantastic. loved the sound. loved the strings.
GO Ginger! keep on rockin', love.
Posted 10/23/2012 8:24 AM by JaredMax
"AN EXERCISE IN SELF-INDULGENCE"
- The Concert (and this review)
As predicted when I reviewed the opening night show in New Hampshire, Rush's Clockwork Angels tour was far more polished in Brooklyn and Newark than it was in Manchester around six weeks ago. Audio was better, string section added both visually and sonically, and, most importantly -- the band was in a groove.
Still, there is a lingering taste of frustration because of the setlist choices. I'm calling this tour (borrowing Rush's lyric notes from La Villa Strangiato) -- "an exercise in self indulgence".
Question: Has the band lost touch with its audience? Did the band take a "screw it" attitude and say we'll play what we want to? Do the guys think that these songs are the best collection they could've chosen? Did they say, "We'll do this one tour of a mish-mosh setlist that doesn't flow, and then we'll come back strong with hits and our best B-sides from DIFFERENT eras the next time around?
One would have to be blind and deaf to not notice the "Clockwork Angels" crowds entering library-mode during TOO many songs. This was painfully obvious last night. The contrast between this and the spirit of the audience during Rush's older material was as bright as nights and dark as days.
In Brooklyn last night, "The Spirit of Radio" might've been the most celebrated version of the song (by the crowd) I've ever been part of; the audience was starving for that kind of "rush". "2112" also carried a similar feel -- as did "YYZ".
Having seen 25+ Rush shows since 1991, I don't recall ever hearing Geddy apologize to the crowd, as he did last night -- sensing the omnipresent reaction to oan extended run of new material, preceded by tracks from what most would call the band's weakest era. Prior to "The Garden", Geddy announced "Thanks for being patient with us". As a friend said to me at the show, "They don't HAVE to play it". Exactly.
Yes, the new album is fantastic. I love it. But, I also know that "less is more". I think that the band would've served itself and its fans better by choosing a handful of songs from "Clockwork Angels" for each night, rotating other new tracks for an alternate setlist. Always leave em wanting more!
Go ahead and pick any Clockwork Angels date on rushisaband.com and look at reviews. You will see similar comments as I've been barking about -- just like the ones I heard from Rush fans ranting on the subway back to Manhattan last night -- as well as at breakfast in Manchester the morning after opening night. Too much new stuff. Too much mediocre stuff from the 80s.
This wasn't about a bunch of old-fart-fans living in the glory days of Moving Pictures or 2112; this was an collection of thousands of audiophiles frustrated, knowing Rush is only immortal for a limited time -- and blew a chance to ignite an arena filled of fans desperate to laugh out loud with fear and hope.
Think about the name of the band -- how the band was named. RUSH. Does this lineup of songs portray a "rush" to you -- a sense of urgency to be heard? For my money, this was about amazing, accomplished artists satisfying their own kicks ... a little too much.
Remember -- there are many people seeing Rush for the first time every night. Is this concert a fair indicator of who Rush is -- or why the loyal fan base has returned tour after tour? I know a handful of folks who saw their first Rush show on this tour and were disappointed. They didn't pay $150 with the expectation of not knowing many songs. They went to see Rush because of the kickass classics they've been hearing on the radio for decades and finally said, "It's time to see Rush". Question is: Will they try again?
Again, the band has earned this right to play what it wants to. But, if they were to do this, say two tours in a row, they'd see more empty seats at their shows. Conform or be cast our, right? I won't buy a live recording of this concert -- on audio or video. And, I own every live recording ever released by Rush.
This show though was a disjointed collection of ingredients that rarely complemented each other.
If constant change is here to stay, why isn't Rush being the New World Men that we know and changing what isn't working? Yeah, many will say they like that mid-80s stuff (perhaps, because they're afraid to criticize their beloved band)-- but, there's a reason those songs have been kept in the back of a drawer for the last few decades (a drawer -- not a vault) -- and why those tracks are skipped every time they enter the shuffle on my iPhone.
OK - enough of the negativity. Next post is about the positives!
Posted 10/23/2012 1:24 AM by nyrush
SPOILER ALERT!! What can I say... Rush are Gods among men.. Show was great, nice new arena, kinda like a mini MSG, most seats offer a great view, sound was good, got better as the might went on, first set highlights were Body Electric, Territories, Analog Kid, Bravado, Where's My Thing with first drum solo, which was awesome, Neil was in great form, also Far Cry closed the first set with a bang... crowd was a bit subdued, but slowly got into it...
The second set was phenomenal... The string section is so cool, it really enhance the new material and songs like Manhattan Project and YYZ... New Clockwork Angela material is great and was validated live, especially The Anarchist, Carnies, Headlong Flight, Halo and The Garden... Great finish with Spirt, Tom, then 2112... Alex had an issue with his guitar during Temples, delay was like 2 mins, way too long, tool his tech forever to get him a new guitar, he definitely wasn't prepared, Alex started tap dancing for some comic relief, but it was a lil awkward, it should not have taken that long to get him back up, in sure his tech (Scott Appleton) will get scolded because he deserves it...
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