Rush/Moving Pictures (Super Deluxe 40th Anniversary Box Set)
Mercury (LP, CD)
3.5 Stars out of Five
Few bands can claim as much abject devotion as Rush. It’s a fact. It’s evidenced by the tee shirts, the enthusiasm expressed by their fans, and the fact that their sales light up the record company coffers as few other artists could ever hope for. They remain one of the few bands that made prog palatable to the masses, encouraging sing-alongs, shredded air guitars, and the joys of a shared communal combine.
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That said, at a cost of nearly $300, it remains to be seen if that fanatical following will translate into the big bucks required to own what’s being billed as the Super Deluxe 40th Anniversary Box Set of one of the band’s most celebrated epics, their 1981 cinematic-like spectacular Moving Pictures. Boasting some of their most memorable anthems—“Tom Sawyer,” “Vital Signs,” “YYZ,” and “Red Barchetta” in particular—it’s the perfect candidate for the box set treatment and indeed, the overarched three-CD/Blu-Ray/video/five vinyl albums (cut on half-speed DMM on 180-gram vinyl) goes above and beyond in terms of the mandatory extra additives. In addition to the sight and sound components, it offers a condensed coffee table book, drumsticks, a red 40th-anniversary toy Barchetta car, a replicated backstage pass and baggage claim tag, the customary poster, a pin, and metal guitar picks, all designed to appeal to the collector and connoisseur.
Still, those extras would have little leverage in terms of tempting even the most diehard fan to part with big bucks were it not for the audio extras. They include the 2015 album remaster, the complete, unreleased Toronto concert from March 25, 1981, and the first-ever Dolby Atmos and new 5.1 surround album mix including a brand-new video for “YYZ” and three music videos.
Hey, if the original Tom Sawyer offered his pals this many perks to whitewash a fence, it would likely have been no effort at all. To quote the late Mr. Peart, Today’s Tom Sawyer/He gets high on you/And the energy you trade/He gets right on to the friction of the day.
This super-deluxe box reflects that sentiment succinctly.