The latest update from Neil Peart and his "News, Weather, and Sports" website blog is now online. Neil's entry for June 2013 is titled Shunpikers in the Shadowlands and it deals largely with his adventures and travels in Europe during Rush's European leg of their Clockwork Angels tour.
Neil, and his riding partner-in-crime, Brutus made good use of the United Kingdom countryside as they traversed from show to show at a very 'steady' pace:Before our first few motorcycle rides on the Clockwork Angels tour of Britain, in May, 2013, I would ask Brutus about the next day, maybe how far the ride was.Traveling into the European mainland, particularly through Poland and Germany, Neil commented on the impact of those locales on him, given their conflict-ridden histories:
...In answer to my query, Brutus would just nod his head thoughtfully, and say, “It will be . . . a full day.”
Soon that became a joke between us, understanding that the day’s journey had nothing to do with distance. On many rides, in the mountains of Wales, Scotland, or the Yorkshire Dales, say, we could easily spend seven hours puttering around little singletrack lanes, yet with the necessarily slow pace, and frequent photo stops, we typically covered less than 200 miles in that “full day.”
That was all very well, naturally, and at the end of those long rides, several in the rain (always making a long day longer), we would settle into some luxurious country hotel, and clink our glasses with a laugh, saying, “To another full day.” Still, after ten of those full days, and five shows (at least equally “full”), I decided I would like to have an empty day.However, when you travel in places with long and tragic, even brutal, histories, it is impossible not to feel something—a perceived darkness that evokes the “Shadowlands” of the title. Apposite to George Santayana’s chestnut, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” is the reality that those who do remember the past are condemned to relive it. Traveling in parts of the world with dark histories, you tend to see shadows everywhere—in this case, shadows of the swastika and hammer and sickle.Finally, Neil touches upon the band's performance at the Sweden Rock Festival:The arena concerts in the U.K, Amsterdam, and Germany had gone very well, the audiences enthusiastic, and we thought we were playing okay. The string section continued to be an uplifting presence, musically and socially. However, this was something far outside our usual performance routine—headlining one night of a huge three-day festival called Sweden Rocks. Bands were playing all day on three or four different stages, more-or-less continuously, so there would be no sound check. Our show would start a couple of hours later than usual, and instead of our two sets with intermission, we would play one long set, about two hours—and we would play to 35,000 people. That was a little overwhelming to contemplate, but I didn’t really have a sense of that crowd from the stage—with all the barricades and photo pits, even the closest people were farther away than usual. I really like to see people’s faces—to see them smiling, singing along, getting excited—but still, it was an impressive sea of humanity.You can read Neil's entire entry via this LINK.
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.