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18 February 1980 - Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio [Soundcheck] [Audio - Audience]

By-Tor X-1

Staff member
Download [FLAC/MP3]:

Track Listing:

01 - Jacob's Ladder
02 - Xanadu
03 - Drum Solo 1
04 - Guitar Solo
05 - Drum Solo 2
06 - Instrumental Jamming
07 - Instrumental Tests
08 - The Spirit Of Radio

This is an old audience recording that seems to have been lost from popular circulation, and has not made its way onto YouTube like other well known Rush soundcheck recordings. The first track however, a full performance of Jacob's Ladder, has been on YouTube for several years, however it is referenced to be an early version from the late 1979 warm-up tour (17 Aug - 22 Sept), and a video commenter even went as far as saying he recorded it himself on 31 December 1979. As we know, Rush WAS playing Jacob's Ladder during the late '79 soundchecks, due to this approx 15 second clip from an old interview. However, when I located this recording among hundreds of others, the files were labeled as 18 February 1980 at Richfield, Ohio. Yet, it should be kept in mind I've encountered multiple instances where recordings were mislabeled with incorrect dates and/or locations, though can usually be solved with a bit of research.

So there's a bit of ambiguity of the date of this recording. Part of the problem with the December 31 claim is they weren't even on tour that month, so in that case it would be more like rehearsal two weeks before the start of the Permanent Waves tour, which seems odd that they'd be doing a random soundcheck that far in advance. Geddy says "check, one, two" multiple times, and a lot of it is instrumental testing like they were preparing for a performance, so it's not just a practice rehearsal. With my best judgment, it is my opinion that the YouTube comment was possibly just a ruse, or sarcasm towards the "pre-release" claim from someone who knew was aware of the 18 February 1980 date. However, it is still very possible this recording was recorded sometime between 17 Aug - 22 Sept of 1979, though until we find any further documentation, this is the only specified date that has been attached to this recording.

Bootleg Titles:
Soundcheck Cleveland


Last edited by a moderator:

By-Tor X-1

Staff member
I have some further concerns I was hoping to publicly discuss about this recording. For several years the first track of a fully performed Jacob's Ladder has been on YouTube, and it was labeled as a "pre-release" version from the Permanent Waves warm-up tour of late 1979. Last July I had found and posted the entire recording, however I've been partly unsure by the way the original lossless files were labeled when I discovered them. It was named "1980-02-18 - Richfield, Ohio", which isn't hard to believe since the recorded content would have been played on the Permanent Waves tour of 1980, even if it also makes sense to have been practiced during the late '79 warm-up tour.

Another part of the problem I noticed with the 1980 Richfield date, is there is another completely different soundcheck recording that goes by that date. I recently dug into the soundcheck bootleg known as "Check This Out", planning to separate the four different soundchecks it is comprised of, to archive the files individually and accordingly. However, I noticed the second part of that was labeled 18 Feb 1980 at Richfield, Ohio. Well I knew this recording and that one are totally different, so I figured one of the dates must be wrong. Right? Well I'm not entirely certain. There is a speaking voice in both recordings that sound remarkably similar, suggesting to me the possibility they may perhaps be part of the same recording from different tapes or something, though I can't be positive.

This video explains all the details, questions, and concerns. Even if we can't figure this out completely, I'd like some opinions to help work on this further. The reason any of this matters is because I think archiving this material with the proper details and information is extremely important, so unknowns and inconsistencies like this should really be properly looked into. Sadly this may be hard to figure out without further information of the recording(s) origins.

"Check This Out", timestamp at 46:33:

The initial soundcheck recording in question, timestamp at 8:11: