Essentially how you view R40 will boil down to how much of a Rush completist you are, given that, as has been well-publicised, the bulk of this box set has already been, and indeed still is, readily available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.
Namely Rush In Rio (never previously available in Blu-ray format), R30, Snakes And Arrows Live, Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland and Clockwork Angels Tour are live collections that most self-respecting Rush fans are likely to already own. Although perhaps it should be pointed out that the R30 disc is the deluxe version, which therefore has the eight songs that had been left off the original disc and all the extras that were originally only available on the DVD box set.
The one disc that is most likely to have Rush fans salivating is the new bonus disc, which has a wealth of archive treasures. These include the Laura Secord School gig from 1974 with John Rutsey drumming (grainy and badly shot but the earliest glimpse of Rush we’ve had), five tracks from a 1976 Capitol Theater, New Jersey show, a singular Lock And Key from a show on the Hold Your Fire tour (mullets a go-go), and eight songs from a Test For Echo tour gig at the Molson Amphitheater in 1997, which includes an entire run through 2112 (and a download link to get an additional 20 minutes). There’s also the I Love You Man promo video from 2011 and the following year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction, with the band performing the opening of 2112, goofing around with Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins and producer Nick Raskulinecz, and then Tom Swayer and The Spirit Of Radio as themselves.
It is, to be fair, over three hours worth of extra material on the bonus disc alone. But then it has to be said that R40, whether you shell out for the 10 DVD version, or the six disc Blu-ray version, is not a cheap option, even if it does arrive housed in a box with a lavish 52-page hardback book which celebrates the titular 40 years of Rush on the road with a dazzling array of photos from throughout the entire period.
A brief scan online suggests fans are split – half happily forking out for something they see as exclusive and a must-have, the others bandying around words like “rip off” and “exploitation”.
One thing’s for sure, though: as bands, managements or record companies seek out different revenue streams while the music industry seemingly lurks from one crisis to another, you really do need pretty deep pockets to be a rock music fan these days!