Neil’s Blog: Getting Into and Out of Trouble
With the North American leg of Rush’s Clockwork Angels tour wrapped up (the last show was in Houston Dec. 2), Neil has updated his blog with a recap of his motorcycling adventures between Oregon and Texas, which includes a tension-filled two hours on a remote and sandy road in Arizona.
Neil and his riding partner, Michael Mosbach, went down more than a few times as they navigated a dirt road coated with inches of loose sand and silt while on the way to Phoenix. Locals had suggested the road was passable by motorcycle, but, as Neil says, they either didn’t really know or couldn’t appreciate how much harder the road would be on motorcycle. It was only with the help of a small group of off-roaders that they were able to make their way back to solid ground.
To show his appreciation for their help, Neil broke his rule of staying incognito and offered them tickets to the upcoming Phoenix show.
“I have learned from traveling in many inhospitable areas, from Africa to the Arctic to the American deserts, that people in such places band together,” he said. “When you have a problem, if you are fortunate enough to find any people around, they are going to help.”
Neil also revisits the fracking issue, which he talked about when the band was in the midwest earlier this year. As he had seen in the western part of North Dakota, with remote areas suddenly turned topsy-turvy by profit-hungry energy companies, the fracking boom had come to West Texas and now one of his favorite riding areas was being turned upside down in exactly the same way.
“A place I loved like an old song, like an old friend, had been devastated,” he says. “Nothing more than a sleepy little cowboy town, and some lonely two-lane roads between hardscrabble ranches in the mesquite scrub—but it had meant something to me. The mess in West Dakota had been shocking and appalling enough, but now it was personal.”
The Clockwork Angels tour will be on hiatus until the spring, when it starts up again in Europe with a May 22 date in Manchester, England. (The North American leg had begun with a Sept. 7 date in Manchester, N.J.) The European tour is scheduled to end June 10 in Helsinki.
After the Dec. 2 Houston show, Neil stayed at the arena for the one and only time during the tour to celebrate the show with Alex and Geddy and the string musicians.
I “raised a glass to my bandmates—–all ten of them!” he says. “Geddy proposed a toast to the stringers, and said that not only did we love their contributions musically, and the energy they brought to their performance, but they were fun to hang out with, too.
“After thirty-five shows, and 13,632 motorcycle miles, we finished the Houston show on a very high note.”
Read “Adventures in the Wild West” in its entirety.