Welcome back to The Rock Show, where it’s all about the music! Forty years ago a little-known band from Canada by the name of Rush released their self-titled debut album on their own label (did Indie exist then?). This year they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary by taking a year off their extensive touring schedule. Which is totally understandable, as they’ve been on the road since 2010. There are even rumors that they’ll be hitting the road again in 2015 with a 41st anniversary celebration tour. But, then, how on earth do they plan on exploiting 2014? I mean, it is an anniversary year, after all. They toured extensively in 2004 for the 30th, even releasing live concert footage of the show. So with no tour plans, what can fans expect this year from the holy triumvirate?
Well, for starters, they re-released their debut album on vinyl already. It’s a box set that includes all the original artwork, sound from the original masters, and a whole bunch of juicy extras. All that came out back in April. But now we’re getting something even bigger.
It’s a 6-disc blu-ray box set that includes all their most recent live releases: Rush in Rio, R30, Snakes & Arrows Live, Time Machine: Live in Cleveland, and Clockwork Angels Tour. But that’s only five, you say. That’s right, and for many hardcore fans, those five discs don’t amount to much–we’ve already got them all! But it’s the bonus 6th disc that’s the real kicker. It’s got a whole mess of unreleased footage–some stuff fans have been begging for for a long time.
It includes footage from a 1974 show at Laura Secord Secondary School (track list forthcoming), footage from a 1976 show at Capitol Theater (including Bastille Day, Anthem, Lakeside Park, 2112, and Fly By Night/In the Mood), footage of Lock & Key from A Show of Hands (the laserdisc version, which did not make the cut to the DVD release), the I Love You Man outro video from the Time Machine tour (which was excluded from the DVD release due to legal concerns), the footage of Rush’s performances from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and most importantly, footage from the 1997 show at Molson Amphitheater.
Why most importantly? Well, back in the day there was talk of live video releases from the Test For Echo tour, which was documented on the Different Stages live album. But it never happened, apparently due to the recordings being unsalvageable. For those who are unaware, the Test For Echo tour was the first time Rush toured without an opener, instead adopting the “An Evening With…” format and featuring two full sets with an intermission. This tour is most noteworthy for the fact that it included, for the first and only time, the entire seven-part suite of 2112. And for those waiting to get their hands on live footage of all twenty minutes, you’re about to get your wish. The footage from the 1997 show includes eight songs, almost all of which have no previously released live version. The track list includes: Limelight, Half the World, Limbo, Virtuality, Nobody’s Hero, Test For Echo, Leave That Thing Alone/Drum Solo, and 2112.
The package is set for a November release date (currently 11/11, but who knows if any delays will pop up), just in time for the holidays. Got a special Rush fan in your life? There just so happens to be a gift idea readily available.
As for the 2015 tour rumors, it’s still just all rumors. And they come from Alex Lifeson. So about a dozen shakers of salt are necessary. But you never know. This is a band who made their name as a live act, and who seems to live and thrive on the stage. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that a 41st anniversary tour is in the works. Maybe we’ll get an official word sometime. Then all we’ll have to worry about is how expensive the damn tickets will be. And whether or not they’ll bust out Jacob’s Ladder.
~The Rock Show, where it’s all about the music!