Neil Peart has just posted a new update to the News, Weather, and Sports section of his website. This October 2012 installment, titled "The Better Angels" focuses on his extensive motorcycle travels over the course of the first leg of Rush's Clockwork Angels tour. With his riding partner Brutus at his side, Neil made is way from Manchester, NH (opening night) throughout the back-roads of the United States. I was personally thrilled to read that Neil came to within 15 miles of my house when he rode along the Delaware River in New Jersey:Next morning, from a Walmart parking lot in Newburgh, New York, Michael and I unloaded and packed the bikes. We followed sweet little roads through the Delaware Water Gap area of New Jersey, quiet and densely forested, across a tiny toll bridge over the Delaware to the Pennsylvania side. (Right around there I once saw a black bear cub.) We had another remarkably long stretch of serene riding, narrow roads winding through woods and around small lakes dotted with rustic cabins.I know that tiny toll bridge quite well :-)
Neil also comments that, for his 60th birthday, he spent a perfect day riding:
On the day of my sixtieth birthday, September 12 (Yay! I’m a sexagenarian!), I was able to plot 332 miles from a Walmart in Columbus down through Southwestern Ohio, across Northern Kentucky, then up through Southeastern Indiana to Bloomington.Towards the end of this lengthy installment, Neil discusses some of the changes Rush made for this tour, including the variable set list and the addition of the "Clockwork Angels String Ensemble":
In all that seven hours of riding, most of it as good as it gets, we did not experience one minute of congestion. Think about that for a moment — a whole day of moving through the world at a velocity determined solely by your own energy and whims. Just winding little roads, rural countryside, crossroads towns, and glorious weather and scenery.
“Roads no one travels unless they live on them.”
It was a fine birthday present.Just before band rehearsals I wrote a piece for Drum Workshop’s Edge magazine about my long preparations, physically and musically, and each of us brought that dedication to the rehearsal hall from the beginning. Over the course of many months, we built up the most musically adventurous and visually “active” show we have ever presented. Deciding to do two different shows on alternate nights, with a number of songs changing, and even a few “one-off” songs for special occasions, has been uplifting for us.To read the entire entry, click HERE. And to check out every News, Weather, and Sports entry Neil has made dating back to 2005, they are all available at the News, Weather, and Sports Archives.
Perhaps most uplifting of all has been adding “guest musicians” to our show for the first time in our lengthy career. Having the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble join us makes the second set really special. The eight string players were chosen by arranger David Campbell, who wrote the scores for the Clockwork Angels album as well as for a number of older songs in the set.