Rush, the Canadian power trio that’s been going at it for over four decades now and is celebrating a milestone this year with the 40th Anniversary of their self-titled debut album, is releasing a 10 DVD/6 Blu-ray set of live performances, which span those 40 years, from a high school concert with the original drummer John Rutsey, right up to their current global domination on the stage.
The box set, entitled R40 (which is a continuum of their successful R30 tour and DVD sets a decade ago), will be released on November 11, 2014 and spans the entire Rush timeline, and there are more than a couple of aces in the hole.
Check out the trailer for R40 and more details here below.
In the set is the inclusion of the already released live concerts Rush in Rio from 2003; the aforementioned R30 from 2004; 2008’s Snakes & Arrows Live; The Time Machine Tour in Cleveland, Ohio from 2011; and finally last year’s Clockwork Angels stint. And while those performances are robust, high octane, perfectly musically manicured pieces of sonic art, with the band going through pretty much all their hits, well-known songs, and bonafide mainstream classics, there’s also a bonus disc included here which without question has to be the Holy Grail Rush fans have been waiting for forever, without even realizing it. There’s always been for the most part a scant amount of the band on film or tape in their early years, be it from the John Rutsey era circa 1974 to the current lineup it is, with the inclusion of drummer Neil Peart replacing Rutsey, and giving a whole new dimension to the kind of music bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitar hero Alex Lifeson were manifesting. The bonus disc that comes with R40 includes performances that have rarely been seen, if ever, in these visual incarnations. A full eight-song set from an Ontario Secondary School, (and which had clips excerpted from it for inclusion in the 2010 Rush documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage) is included on the bonus disc, the first time in its entirety and, with the inclusion of two unreleased Rush originals, “I’ve Been Runnin” and “The Loser,” along with a cover of a song The Beatles popularized, “Bad Boy”.
John Rutsey would have been a top-shelf drummer in the eyes of many (and to many fans of the band, he remains) if he hadn’t been under the shadow of Peart in the eyes of many Moving Pictures-found fans, and yet, his drumming is more than in full sonic adhesive aplomb to what the other, on their way to becoming legends, bandmates were laying down. If Rutsey had never left the band, they more than likely would have been still a popular musical unit, akin and right on the froth of the fringe of success like a Foghat, or April Wine, or Edgar Winter’s group, or any of those kinds of bands of that mid 1970s heyday of hard rock that was harder than say Queen (who could be hard at times early on), yet not as strong as a Black Sabbath. Rush’s appeal, like their sound, especially during their 1970s incarnation, was their rollercoaster ride of complex progressive rock lines that weaved like a serpent when laid out as musical notes on the page.
A 1976 performance that’s also on the bonus disc is as ferocious as it comes, an absolutely splitting of an atom of sounds as the band is at their hungriest and Lifeson’s guitar snarls like a whip lashing against steel mesh as the rhythm section burns with wheels of fire. It’s a peak for a band full of them, but in a way, this was the true peak; the band was young and imbued with a sort of intelligentsia of attitude in a way, albeit a white bred one, and everything about the band was presented in early embryonic forms of being mannered, like the band always liked it, but there’s less of an arranged restraint in the early days of Peart with the band. As evidenced here in this performance, it’s as if the Rutsey paint was still splattered on the trio, the Led Zeppelin influence still poking through, and the King Crimson/Yes musings still not as clearly defined. It’s fun to hear the band playing musical hopscotch and not knowing where it’s going to wind up.
The bonus disc is rounded out by a single performance of “Lock and Key” from 1988 and finally, another incredible inclusion, this time from the band’s later era, 1997, when the boys did the entire 2112 Suite (all seven parts), something they rarely did since the album’s original release in 1976. And for good measure, also here is the performance from their induction in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, from a few years ago, where they also jammed with key Foo Fighters members Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins. These visual crown jewels are for sure the doubloons in the velvet bag, and it just solidifies the appeal of a massive and mind boggling eye-opening amount of material this really is when put into proper perspective.
The true crowing achievement of a band who seemed to do things their own way in a musical world that critically gave them sharp elbows in the ribs for so long, the red welts remaining for decades and decades while the band whistled while they worked and the big money S’s seized the day as tours and albums were of paramount success, this lavish, immensely adventurous undertaking of a package will just solidify why everything Rush does endures to have a firm snowball effect affixed on its ultra-loyal fan base, unbelievably still growing, 40 years on.
R40, which also comes with a handsome 52-page hardback book, chocked full with photos and historic pop cultural artifacts from the band’s history and its tours, will be released on November 11, 2014. [Ed’s Note: Want, need, must have.] A tour, which is currently called “The 41st Anniversary Tour,” is set to begin next year.
R40 Bonus Disc Contents:
Laura Secord Secondary School 1974
1. “Need Some Love”
2. “Before and After”
3. “Best I Can”
4. “I’ve Been Runnin'”
5. “Bad Boy”
6. “The Loser”
7. “Working Man”
8. “In the Mood” (partial)
Capitol Theatre 1976
1. “Bastille Day”
3. “Lakeside Park”
5. “Fly By Night”/”In the Mood”
“Lock and Key”
Molson Amphitheatre 1997
2. “Half the World”
5. “Nobody’s Hero”
6. “Test for Echo”
7. “Leave That Thing Alone”/Drum Solo
8. “2112” (all seven parts)
“I Still Love You Man”
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, 2013
1. “2112,” featuring Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Nick Raskulinecz
2. “Tom Sawyer”
3. “The Spirit of Radio”