Rush Touring To Celebrate 40th Anniversary
On Jan. 22, Rush made a huge announcement.
The Canadian rock trio, responsible for such hits like “New World Man” and “Tom Sawyer,” is hitting the road to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Rush’s Anniversary Date
I think a band’s “anniversary date” is the day they release their first record. With a few notable exceptions, who cares about an artist before they started releasing music? In Rush’s case they released their first single in 1973 and their first album in 1974 (Rush formed in 1968). So why are they celebrating the big 4-0 in 2015? Well, Neil Peart joined Rush in July of 1974 and the first album with him on board, Fly by Night, dropped in 1975. As you can see, a band’s anniversary date is not an exact science.
The upcoming Rush tour will be the 21st of the band’s legendary career.
Their trek, which has been christened “R40 Live Tour,” will visit 34 cities in North America between May 8 and Aug. 1.
The tour opens in Tulsa and ends in Los Angeles (at The Forum). Major stops on their itinerary include Dallas, Texas on May 18; Atlanta, Georgia on May 26; Chicago, Illinois on June 12; and Boston, Massachusetts on June 23.
Rush tickets will be collected at Madison Square Garden on June 29.
The band has not said this is their last tour, but they have said it will be their last big outing. On their Web site, during a post announcing their upcoming jaunt, they wrote that this is likely to be “their last major tour of this magnitude.”
I like the way the band is handling what could be their last major trek. They’re not saying it IS their final outing nor are they signing a legal document promising never to tour again (à la Motley Crüe).
They’re just being honest.
They don’t know what the future has in store for them. In the coming years, maybe they will play 20, 30, or 40 dates, or maybe they will book nothing but festivals and one-offs.
Of course, they never had to verbalize any intentions to quit. Whenever a band hits the road to celebrate their 40th anniversary you pretty much assume that if it’s not their last tour it’s close to it.
Rush’s Set List Challenges
One of the challenges Rush will have for their upcoming tour is selecting a set list. It’s always difficult for a 40-year-old band to pick the songs they’re going to play in concert but now Rush has the added dimension that this may be the last time they ever rock large arenas.
“We’ve already gone through a couple of different set list scenarios. We’ve been doing some editing, dropping some stuff. We have an idea about how we want to approach it, in terms of the whole show from front to back. We’re working on these production ideas.” — Alex Lifeson
>>Should Rush only play their biggest hits?
>>Should Rush include their favorite deep cuts?
>>Should Rush cater their set list to hardcore fans or those of the casual variety?
Those are questions the members of Rush will need to answer before embarking on their anniversary expedition.
Rush By The Numbers
So, just how daunting of a task is it to select a set list for a 40th anniversary tour? Let’s look at the numbers…
Rush has released 19 studio albums.
Combined, those albums contain 165 tracks.
Keep in mind that I’m counting works like "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres,” which contains six parts and takes up an entire side of an album, as one song.
They’ve released two singles that haven’t appeared on an album and in 2004 they released an 8-track EP of covers (Feedback).
If you add all that up you get 175 songs.
A Rush concert generally contains around 20 to 25 songs.
That means at most, Rush will play one-seventh of their catalog. For every one song Rush includes they have to exclude at least six.
Their 19 studio albums average 8.6 tracks. The album with the fewest number of tracks is Hemispheres. It only has four. Vapor Trails and Snakes & Arrows are tied for the most. They each have 13.
Vapor Trails is also the band’s longest playing album. It has a running duration of one hour, seven minutes, and 15 seconds.
If Rush was to hold a concert in which they played their entire catalog it would last nearly 15 and half hours.
Taking the numbers a little further, 175 songs in a 40-year career means a new song every 83 days. That doesn’t sound like much but look at it this way: 175 songs in 40 years means Rush recorded an average of just under four seconds of music every day.
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