Released to mark the fortieth anniversary of Rush’s debut album, R40 is a hefty visual document of the prog trio’s incredible four-decade-long career. Housed in a lavish, hardback book complete with 52-pages of rare archival photos, this 10 DVD collection – or six Blu-ray discs – features five previously released concert films: Rush In Rio (2003), R30 (2005), Snakes & Arrows Live (2008), Time Machine 2011: Time Machine in Cleveland (2011) and Clockwork Angels Tour (2013).
Fans, of course, will own these already. But even in their formative years, Rush had the foresight to visually document their every move, and what makes R40 a compelling purchase is the wealth of unreleased footage from the vaults./o:p
The salient highlight of this anthology that will both delight and calm Rush completists is a bonus disc of a sure-footed set filmed at St. Catharines’ Laura Secord Secondary School in 1974. The eight-song performance, featuring original drummer John Rutsey, includes three unreleased songs – I’ve Been Runnin’, The Loser and a cover of Larry Williams’s Bad Boy – as well as the blue-collar anthem Working Man.
Delve a little deeper and you’ll find five songs from a 1976 performance at Passaic, New Jersey, and all seven parts of 1976’s 2112. Fast-forward to 2013 and you’ll see a 33-minute clip from their long-awaited induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, complete with a frothing introduction speech from Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and a clearly giddy Taylor Hawkins. The duo pull on kimonos and ill-fitting wigs in homage to the trio’s questionable mid-70s fashion decisions, and run through a truncated 2112 with Snakes & Arrows/Clockwork Angels producer Nick Raskulinecz on bass.
After tackling the hours of music and featurettes, a special download link will give you access to seven further tracks cut from the original R30 release, plus four bonus tracks: Anthem, from a 1975 Castle session, plus Animate, Resist and Natural Science, recorded at Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in 1997.
With a price tag of around £120, it remains to be seen whether diehard fans will justify forking out for an extra two hours of footage to complete their collection. However, as a standalone document of the perennial prog masters’ showmanship and evolution, R40 is a visual feast./o:p