Arriving today is R40 Live, the CD and home video document of Rush's 40th anniversary tour earlier this year.
The set was filmed and recorded during home town shows on June 17 and 19 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, capturing the trio's ambitious, reverse-chronological presentation in which Rush celebrated its career with time-appropriate props and instruments, right down to an encore segment featuring Rush playing songs from its debut album in a high school gymnasium setting, with amplifiers sitting on chairs and stools.
Guitarist Alex Lifeson tells us that having two nights really helped Rush nail a good souvenir of the show:
"It seemed to be the right thing for us to do this one in Toronto. We also had the luxury of having two shows there, which is always a great thing for a setup. I think that the Wednesday, the first night, was good but we had some technical glitches which you always do when you record; as soon as that red light comes on something's gonna break or happen, and it's always enough to just get you a little distracted. So although the night sounded really good I know that we had some of those issues. But Friday felt great. It was one of the best shows on the tour, we thought, so we had some really good material to work from, and having the two nights and two different sets we could include stuff that we played on the Wednesday night in the final version."
R40 Live comes in five different configurations. Rush is currently on hiatus while its members pursue other projects; today also sees the publication of Clockwork Lives, drummer Neil Peart’s his second science fiction novel co-written with Kevin Anderson.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.