Rush is about to unleash its 10th live release upon the world, and Radio.com has an exclusive preview of the concert film coming later this week. Clockwork Angels Tour will be out on CD, mp3, DVD and BluRay next Tuesday (Nov. 19), but for 24 hours starting at noon EST on Thursday (Nov. 14), we’ll have six performances from the DVD available exclusively to stream on Radio.com.
The sold-out arena tour in support of 2012’s Clockwork Angels, Rush’s 19th studio album, saw the Canadian rockers playing material not performed since the ’80s, alongside a string section in many cases. For our exclusive preview, we’ll show you footage of some of those rarely performed songs as well as two performances with the “Clockwork Angels String Ensemble.”
The Radio.com exclusive performances will include: “Grand Designs,” “Middletown Dreams” and “Territories” from 1985’s Power Windows; “The Body Electric” and “Red Sector A” from 1984’s Grace Under Pressure; and “The Wreckers” from Clockwork Angels.
For two weeks following our exclusive stream, two of the performances — of “Red Sector A” and “Middletown Dreams” — will be available to stream on-demand.
While diehards will never tire of seeing Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart work their alchemy onstage, the string section featured on the tour did receive a lot of attention from fans. The original concept for the tour was to start with a set of rarities, and then perform Clockwork Angels in the second set alongside the string section. However, it ended up that the strings brought new life to some older songs as well, including “Dreamline,” “Red Sector A” and “YYZ.”
“It’s been kind of a secret dream for me for many years to record and play live with a string section,” Lee told Radio.com. “Now, I had a bigger string section in mind, but when we recorded Clockwork Angels and Nick [Raskulinecz], our producer, suggested that maybe four of the songs would really suit a string arrangement. He brought David Campbell [who’s arranged strings for Black Sabbath, Celine Dion, etc.] in to meet us. When the string section played ‘The Garden,’ we were all kind of tearing up, because it was kind of an emotional moment for some reason. And afterwards we said, ‘Look David, if we ever want to do this on the road, would you be up for doing the string arrangements and helping us put a group together?’ ‘Yeah, totally into that,’ and like a dog with a bone I didn’t let it go.”
Of course, Lee had to sell his bandmates on the idea of letting other people on the stage.
“I kept talking about it with the other guys and Neil was more ready for that than Alex initially,” Lee explained. “Alex is a little reticent — he likes to have the three-piece, no strangers on the stage. I think by day two in the rehearsals, that all changed. We were just loving it, and loving the fact that we had these new guys to hang around with on tour. They were contributing so much visually by being so into it and being such great players. It brought a new life to the tour, and we crossed our fingers our fans would see it the way we saw it and I think they certainly did.”
The “Clockwork Angels String Ensemble” added a visual aspect to the show, as well: where most string sections remain seated and look like they were kidnapped from the opera house, these players looked like Rush fans who also happen to be great violinists and cellists. Instead of sitting down, they rocked out. And they didn’t wear tuxes either: “We said to them, ‘We’ve got some shirts designed with our logo for you. And aside from that, just have fun,’ and the rest came from them. They decided when they were gonna stand up, when they were gonna sit down, and as the tour went on and as they got more comfortable, they got into it. You can’t stay on that stage and be just sitting still.”
You can also see Clockwork Angels Tour on the big screen; more than 350 select movie theaters around the country will be showing it as a one-night-only event on November 18 (though “Grand Designs,” “The Body Electric,” “Territories” and “Middletown Dreams” are exclusive to Radio.com and won’t be included in the theatrical release). For a complete list of theater locations and prices, visit the NCM Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
— Brian Ives, Radio.com