Rush's live album "Clockwork Angels Tour", was released on November 19, 2013.
This live album is special and different from the band's other live albums, mainly due to the fact that this is the first time in the band's history that "Rush" shares the stage with other musicians. An ensemble that includes 10 string players and a conductor, who accompanied the band throughout the second part of the setlist.
The addition of the string ensemble greatly enriches the sound of "Rush" and pushes the band and the songs forward. This can be heard especially in songs like "The Garden", "Red Sector A" and "Manhattan Project", where the strings just blend in perfectly, upgrading the performance and adding to the experience.
The strings blend very nicely even in the noisier tracks like "Caravan" where they play right on Alex Lifeson's riff, in the song "the Anarchist", especially in the transition parts starting from 1:51 and up to the chorus, in the song "Carnies", especially in the crescendo towards the end, so you can really hear the strings along with the power trio and pyrotechnics of the show, all together in one huge climax, and even in the instrumental track "YYZ" which has never sounded so special.
Another reason for the uniqueness of this live album is the conscious decision the band has made, to "pull "out of the attic" songs that have not been played live for almost three decades and include them in the show's rich and varied setlist. In this way, most of the setlist (except for the songs from the album "Clockwork Angels" which we will refer to later), consists of songs from the band's synthesizers and new wave era. For example, you can find songs like "Grand Designs", "Territories", "The Body Electric", "Force Ten", "Middletown Dreams", and "Manhattan Project" that have not been played live for a very long time, along with other songs from that era that was played here and there over the years like "The Analog Kid", "The Big Money", "Subdivisions", "Red Sector A".
The show is divided into two parts. The first set is played by the band on stage alone, when after the break the band goes on stage with the ensemble and plays with it almost the entire album "Clockwork Angels", from beginning to end. Remember this is the only full concept album of "Rush" and those who have not read our review of it and do not know the plot story of the album, are welcome to do so.
There is no doubt that the second part of the setlist is the highlight of this show. It includes a video art that accompanies the story of the concept album and adds much to the experience of the show, with one of the highlights in our humble opinion, being the ending track of the concept album "The Garden", in a very moving performance and accompanied by particularly impressive video art.
It is interesting to note that this time the album features a short solo by Neil Peart, relative to other performances, during the song "Headlong Flight". At the same time, the album also includes a nice surprise in the form of a guitar piece by Alex Lifeson called "Peke's Repose" which is an introduction to the song "Halo Effect". Such an opening track by Alex Lifeson is well remembered from "Exit... Stage Left" with the track "Broon's Bane" which was the introduction to the song "The Trees".
The CD version of the album includes 3 discs. The first includes the first part of the setlist with only three "Rush" members on stage. The second includes the second part of the setlist centered on the album "Clockwork Angels" with the string ensemble and the third includes the sequel to the second part of the setlist also with the string ensemble, including the encores and bonus tracks of songs played in additional performances on the same tour, as well as a recording of the song "Limelight" during the band's soundcheck.