Concert Review: RUSH – Clockwork Angels Tour 2012

2112, alex lifeson, canada, canadian rock, classic, classic rock, clockwork angels, geddy lee, music, neil peart, prog, prog-rock, progressive rock, rock, rush, tom sawyer, yyzFor the past few months, I had heard about RUSH coming around for their Clockwork Angels tour.  I’d received a bunch of emails from Ticketmaster and a few of my friends would occasionally ask me, “Hey man, you goin’ to RUSH in November?  It’s gonna be awesome… Neil’s solos dude!”  I would always answer them with a foot stomp, slight frown, and a sullen “No… too expensive.”  Well on the day of the concert, November 25th 2012, I saw a Facebook post from my friend Justin Grant of about seven years now, that read “Have an extra ticket to RUSH tonight… any takers?”  I responded with “How much?”  He replied, “It’s yours, no charge.”  And I lost it.  I screamed at the top of my lungs, while on the phone with a friend of mine (I apologize Kiara, if your ear is still healing), “I’M GOING TO RUSH FOR FREE TONIGHT!!!”

I met my friends at the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix around 6:45pm, and got in line for a shirt.  Then we headed to our seats, which were pretty decent.  You could see everything perfectly, it was just very small – but that’s what the giant screen was for.  Just like the first time I saw them, they had a big screen that would focus on the band half the time, and then show funny caricatures and cartoons that they had put together for the tour whenever it wouldn’t show the band playing.  One thing I really admire about this band is their excellent sense of humor.  Throughout the 30+ years they’ve been playing, a good portion of their lyrics have been very deep and story-bookish.  But when they played Tom Sawyer near the end of the evening, and Alex got REALLY into the part where Geddy says “Today’s Tom Sawyer, he gets high on you…” I started laughing quite a bit.  I won’t explain exactly what Alex did during that part, so as not to upset any parents that may be reading this.  Not that it should matter… I mean… you know what you’re getting into when you listen to this band.  Or any old prog-rock band for that matter.

The lights went out, I heard the beginning synths of “Subdivision”, and I lost it.  I sang as loud as I could, “CONFORM OR BE CAST OUT!”  When a band opens with one of your favorite songs, you’re immediately locked in for the rest of the night.  It was a privilege to hear a bunch of old songs, such as Big Money and The Analog Kid during the first half of the concert.  During the second half, they played a good portion of the songs off of the Clockwork Angels album, including the fan favorites “The Wreckers” and “The Garden”.  It was an extra special evening for me personally, because they brought out the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble for the second half.  I’ve never seen a symphony or orchestra or anything like that during a concert before, but I do love those classical influences.  So that was particularly engaging for me.

Once they finished the playing their new songs, they busted out some “YYZ”, and then my absolute favorite “Spirit of the Radio”.  I made sure to sing extra loud during one of the most incredible lyrics in any song ever written, “ONE LIKES TO BELIEVE IN THE FREEDOM OF MUSIC!”  After that, they of course followed it up with “Tom Sawyer” for the encore, and just like the first time I saw them, closed the night with “2112” parts I, II, and VII.  In between some of the songs, Neil produced some of the most amazing drum solos ever done, naturally.  Of course, we also had the pleasure of hearing Alex shred a few times during several of the songs.  What I would really like to hear some day though is a mind-blowing bass solo from Geddy.  However I have absolutely no complains about this concert.  They could play Justin Beiber songs, and I’d rock out to it (and they’d probably actually do a fantastic job at it too)!

Overall, an incredible evening filled with live music by three of the most talented and respectable musicians the world has ever known.  At their age, they’re still rocking out as hard as ever, which truly shows how young at heart they really are.  As always, I look forward to the next time they come around these parts, with their amazing Canadian progressive rock.

*Side notes* My apologies for the lack of pictures – it was pretty high up, and my camera doesn’t take the best pictures from far away.  However to make up for that, I’ve posted the set list below.  I also wanted to thank Justin and his friends again for letting me know about this concert last-minute, and allowing me to share the amazing experience with you!*

Set One


The Big Money

Force Ten

Grand Designs

Middletown Dreams


The Analog Kid

The Pass

(Guitar solo intro)

Where’s My Thing?

(Drum solo 1)

Far Cry


Set Two (with the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble)


Clockwork Angels

The Anarchist


The Wreckers

Headlong Flight

(Drum solo 2)

Halo Effect

Wish Them Well

The Garden

Manhattan Project

(Drum solo 3) 

(The Percussor)

Red Sector A


The Spirit of Radio

(Without strings)



Tom Sawyer

2112 Part I: Overture

2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx

2112 Part VII: Grand Finale

Heyo! Ashley here! I am writing a couple music columns for the site, mainly in the areas of metal. I love to attend concerts, promote local bands, and I tend to hang around the recording studio with my friends and their band-mates. Aside from music, there are a few TV shows that I follow: Breaking Bad, Dexter, Game of Thrones, and more recently Orange is the New Black. I also watch South Park and Metalocalypse religiously. When I'm not catching up on my shows, taking care of GNN, or at a concert, I'm at Mesa Community College where I major in Journalism. I also hold interest in film and some video-games, and I am always open to discovering new and exciting things within the Geek community! Email me at [email protected] or follow my Twitter @iamaninsect.

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