Review: Rush Clockwork Angels Tour – DVD/Blu-Ray

You’d think a band renowned for its consummate professionalism would think twice before hiring an amateur videographer.

The Rush Clockwork Angels Tour on video (DVD and Blu-Ray) is simply unbearable to watch. It’s not the audio, mind you, which is the saving grace of this poorly shot, directed and edited movie that miserably failed in its attempt at capturing the latest Rush tour.

The movie actually starts out quite promising. Filmed in Dallas, TX in 2012 at the end of the first leg of the Clockwork Angels Tour, the video begins with a sound check as band members Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart “go to work” if you will. They step on stage engaging in small talk with crew members and the musicians in the string ensemble. The trio grabs their gear and jumps on stage with a sound check using “Limelight.” (This track is available on the CD.) The experience brings you a perspective most never get a chance to see as Lee sings partial lyrics and the band plays to an empty arena.

The movie glides into the moments before the band steps on stage in front of a full arena and cameras capture Lee and Lifeson shouldering their respective guitars and waiting for their cue. It truly felt for a moment like a backstage documentary waiting in the wings.

Then the show starts.

A spastic array of cameras governed by a director with ADD ensues grabbing diminutive shots of the band members and the crowd from more than a dozen different angles. Would-be clever techniques come off as full blown mistakes like the out of focus scene that quickly find its subject and the direct shots into the lights that explode on screen bringing back memories of CNN’s Iraq War coverage.

One view is actually a close-up behind an audience member focusing their personal camera on the stage. And isn’t using the heads and arms of audience members to “frame” the shot what you learn not to do on the first day of your 101 class? Why do I want to see this? Show me a close-up of Lifeson playing! You also get to watch a video of a video as the camera eyes in on the stage screen. And how many times do you really need a two-second bird’s eye view of Peart drumming?

The joy of a concert video is completely removed from this DVD. Just as you start to really get a look at the intense playing the camera angle switches to a nose-bleed view of the stage, then a quick shot of an audience member, back to Lee singing, quickly over to Lifeson on guitar, back to Peart, audience member, Lifeson, nose-bleed seats, clapping hands and raised arms, Lee on bass, video of the video and on and on it goes until motion sickness starts about 10 minutes in.

Rarely do shots last more than three seconds and many are less than two. Lifeson’s awesome guitar solo on “The Analog Kid” hardly gets the kid gloves treatment and you just wish someone would leave the camera in one position and simply film. Stop moving around! The longest scene without cutting to a different camera is believe it or not about 14 seconds between the end of “The Big Money and the beginning of “Force Ten” but it’s a rolling ground view of the stage.

The production value of the Clockwork Angels Live video feels like someone employed the scantron technique to test taking when you don’t know any answers. Just randomly grab a one or two second shot from Camera 10, 3, 6, 8, 5, 2, 1,12, 11, 9, 4, 7, and then splice together with the audio and voila we have ourselves a video.

Clockwork Angels Live on DVD or Blu-Ray is best used to have on in the background during housework otherwise grab a copy of 1989’s A Show of Hands and save yourself some time and a headache.

Grade: Incomplete – please redo
Written By: AndrewT

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