Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Best of RUSH Live (A List of Favorite Live Tracks)

Photo taken @ The Pepsi Center in Denver, CO for
the Rush R40 tour on July 11th, 2015 "Roll the Bones"
was being played.
Below I have listed a definitive compilation/ playlist I put together as a direct result of my unnatural obsession with Rush, their musicality and their incredible live performances. This compilation contains what I believe to be some of the very best live recordings of various different tracks, handpicked from the many different Rush live album releases. This compilation/ playlist contains (in my view) a roughly proportional amount of new and old material. I enjoy listening to Rush’s newer material just as much as their old material.

Having just recently seen Rush in concert for their 40th anniversary R40 tour, I was compelled to try and recreate the concert sound as much as possible. While nothing I own can achieve that true rock concert sound, I can at least get relatively close. I have been listening to Rush's live albums much more than their studio releases as of late, and I decided to create a playlist that contains the best songs from their live performances.

The live recordings in this compilation/ playlist come from the following live albums:

All the World’s a Stage (Live) [Remastered] {released September 29, 1976}
Exit… Stage Left (Live) [Remastered] {released October, 1981}
Chronicles [Remastered] (which contains four live recordings) {released September 4, 1990}
Rush In Rio (Live) {released January 27, 2004}
R30 (Live) {released November 18, 2005}
Snakes & Arrows: Live {released April 12, 2008}
Clockwork Angels Tour (Live) {released November 15, 2013}

Note: This playlist was created in iTunes. In order to smooth out the transitions between the songs (due to their live recorded nature) it is important to enable “Crossfade Songs” in iTunes preferences, under “Playback.”

I set the crossfade slider all of the way to the leftmost position. Fine tuning the slider will likely result in better transitions between songs, however some transitions will naturally be awkward, especially when bouncing from “R30” to “Exit Stage Left” for example. Not using crossfade at all however, naturally makes song transitions very abrupt.

Light show for "Spirit of Radio" @ The Pepsi Center in
Denver, CO on July 11th, 2015.
I ordered the compilation/ playlist with more regard towards a concert-like order of songs than a playlist where songs transition better together. However, I did try to group parts of the compilation/ playlist together by naturally progressing songs from the same live album (like Caravan, Clockwork, Anarchist, Carnies, Wreckers from the Clockwork Tour album) in other words, how that portion of the live album was originally ordered.

For those who don’t use iTunes, I know that most computer based media players have a crossfade option, or something similarly named but identical in function.

Due to the disparity in some of the recordings age, it may be necessary to boost the volume of the older recordings to reach the volume level or the newer recordings. I boosted the volume of “Exit Stage Left” and “Chronicles” tracks by around 45% (again, basing this off of iTunes).

I am constantly reordering this playlist. It seems like no matter what combination, it’s never just quite right. Obviously the order of the songs is highly subjective, but I feel that the current order works fairly well. I will likely continue to tweak it, and perhaps add additional songs. Any suggestions for better flow or less abrupt transitions are welcome.

The compilation is as follows:

1.) R30 – Overture – R30 (Live)
2.) Earthshine – R30 (Live)
3.) Animate – R30 (Live)
4.) Mystic Rhythms – R30 (Live)

5.) Caravan – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
6.) Clockwork Angels – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
7.) The Anarchist – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
8.) Carnies – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
9.) The Wreckers – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)

10.) Roll The Bones – R30 (Live)
11.) Subdivisions – R30 (Live)
12.) Limelight – R30 (Live)

13.) Far Cry – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)

14.) The Main Monkey Business (Live) – Snakes & Arrows: Live

15.) The Analog Kid – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
16.) Grand Designs – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
17.) The Body Electric – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
18.) Territories – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)

19.) Force Ten – R30 (Live)

20.) Distant Early Warning – Snakes & Arrows: Live

21.) Leave That Thing Alone – Rush In Rio (Live)

22.) Wish Them Well – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
23.) Seven Cities of Gold – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
24.) The Percussor [I] Binary Love Theme [II] Steambanger’s Ball [drum solo] – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
25.) Red Sector A – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)
26.) YYZ – Clockworks Angels Tour (Live)
27.) The Garden – Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)

28.) Ghost Rider – Rush In Rio (Live)

29.) Jacob’s Ladder – Exit… Stage Left (Live) [Remastered]
30.) The Trees – Exit… Stage Left (Live) [Remastered]

31.) Natural Science – Snakes & Arrows: Live

32.) Red Barchetta (Live) – Exit… Stage Left (Live) [Remastered]

33.) Digital Man – Snakes & Arrows: Live
34.) A Passage to Bangkok – Snakes & Arrows: Live

35.) Tom Sawyer – Exit… Stage Left (Live) [Remastered]
36.) The Spirit of Radio – Exit… Stage Left (Live) [Remastered]
37.) Xanadu (Live) – Exit… Stage Left (Live) [Remastered]

38.) 2112 – R30 (Live)

39.) What You’re Doing [Live] – Chronicles (Remastered)

40.) Anthem (Live) – All the World’s a Stage (Live) [Remastered]

41.) Working Man – R30 (Live)

Approx. total runtime: 4 hours, 9 minutes

(for importing this playlist into iTunes, you will need to have the identical songs in your library)

CLICK HERE for the iTunes playlist text file

R40 photos that I took @ The Pepsi Center in Denver, CO:

"Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone

Nowhere is the dreamer
Or the misfit so alone"

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Somewhere out of a memory
Of lighted streets on quiet nights"

- Excerpts from Subdivisions

R40 concert videos I took:


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