Prog Rock Angels RUSH Turn Back the Clock at SPAC June 25th

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RUSH bring out the crowds at SPAC every time they perform at the open-air amphitheater.  This year was no different.  A little bit of rain before the show was little deterrent to the droves of RUSH fans that came from throughout the region and beyond to see the prog rock trio light up the stage.  As well they should as 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and one of the few Prog Rock bands given the honor to have a permanent place in Cleveland.

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Known for their elaborate live shows, with a mini-movie, a lot of stage props and of course, incredible solos.  RUSH didn’t miss a beat with the Clockwork Angels tour.  Two years ago when RUSH played SPAC they performs two numbers off the album, “Clockwork Angels,” “Caravan” and “BU2B”.  It was at that show that this reporter/photographer became well-aware that the new material was going to be spectacular. In fact, “Caravans” that opens this year’s second set is one of my personal favorites.

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The Clockwork Angels tour also highlights a special string ensemble consisting of six violins and two cellos placed directly behind Neil Peart’s drum kit.  The setup allows for a bigger sound and an orchestral feel that SPAC is well accustomed to.

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Neil Peart’s kit rotated so that the drummer could play his signature 360 degree setup.  Intense focus and absolute precision is guaranteed when Peart plays.  Fans are rarely disappointed.

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Geddy Lee’s vocals were spot on and the high-tone lead singer and bassist for the band was energetic and theatrical at times.  Facial expressions and primal screams to well-known lyrics that had the mostly male crowd chiming in at the top of their lungs.

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Guitarist Alex Lifeson knew what he was doing when he founded the band RUSH 45 years ago.  Named as a top 100 guitarist by Rolling Stones, the Canadian born guitarist can lay down a serious lick and keep up with other guitarists less than half his age.  Like Peart, the concentration and  intensity is mesmerizing to watch.  Lifeson plays a Gibson Les Paul and the sound couldn’t be better.

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After nearly a half a century RUSH doesn’t show much signs of slowing down.  With tragedies behind them, the trio is looking forward and the new album and tour is proof that we can expect more from these legends from the north.

Set 1: Subdivisions, The Big Money, Force Ten, Grand Designs, The Body Electric, Territories, The Analog Kid, Bravado, Where’s My Thing? (including drum solo), Far Cry

*Set 2: Caravan, Clockwork Angels, The Anarchist, Carnies, The Wreckers, Headlong Flight (including drum solo), Halo Effect (guitar solo intro), Seven Cities of Gold, The Garden, Manhattan Project, Red Sector A, YYZ, The Spirit of Radio

Encore: Tom Sawyer, 2112 Part I: Overture, 2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx, 2112 Part VII: Grand Finale

* entire set with Clockwork Angels String Ensemble