Rush’s Neil Peart takes a ride in his Ohio time machine: Exclusive

In fact, on the day we filmed the “Time Machine” DVD in Cleveland, I retraced that exact route on my motorcycle, from Hinckley down to Mount Eaton, with my riding partner, Michael. Making a ceremonial stop in the park, as I always do when I’m traveling in that area, we continued along the delightful little roads of rural Ohio, through occasional rain showers. The route deliberately touched on some other little places that have “stories” for me, like Winesburg, Beach City and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, then we surrendered to the interstate into Cleveland.

The band had decided to film the show in Cleveland for a few reasons. In past years, we had released concert videos from shows in Toronto, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Frankfurt and Rotterdam, but we had never filmed a concert in the United States.

It was felt that the “Time Machine” show in particular looked better indoors, without the lingering twilight of an outdoor amphitheater, and with control over ambient light and air currents. Also, the audio side of things tends to be more controllable in a contained acoustic environment. So we wanted an arena.

Glancing over the itinerary, we considered the options, looked at Cleveland, and thought, “Yes.” The idea just made us smile. The historical connection was strong, of course — we never, never, never forget how welcoming Cleveland was to us in the early days.

But there was also the impish notion of poking a sharp stick into the eye of a certain other Cleveland institution. With regard to Groucho Marx’s famous remark — “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member” — I have stated before that personally the three of us are not too bothered about that snub. We have achieved plenty of success and professional respect without those self-appointed judges, thank you very much.

But it does seem petty to make our fans feel like they’re part of something that’s “outside the pale.”

Anyway, we thought the idea of filming the show in Cleveland was good — so we made it happen.

Despite the usual pressure of performing a show that you know is being “immortalized,” the three of us felt we had played pretty well that night. And of course the audience was incandescent!

We had given the directing job to the Banger guys, Scot and Sam, because their documentary about us had obviously cast us in a new sort of “lighted stage.” We thought they would bring a fresh eye to a live concert DVD. We reviewed early edits, to approve their general approach, then just left them to it. The results justified our decisions and our trust, and just as we were very proud of the “Time Machine” tour, we are pleased with its presentation. It is different from any of our previous concert DVDs, with more focus on the audience, and it highlights something special that only people who have been there will understand: the relationship between us and the audience.

Seven months later, in November 2011, as we release that performance into the world, we are back in the studio in Toronto, working on the “Clockwork Angels” project that we started almost two years ago, before the “Time Machine” tour. In fact, the first two chapters of the story, “Caravan” and “BU2B,” were part of that show.

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