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

By-Tor X-1

Staff member


Track Listing:

01 - Jacob's Ladder
02 - Xanadu
03 - Synthesizer Tests
04 - Drum Solo
05 - Guitar Solo
06 - Instrumental Tests 1
07 - Instrumental Jamming
08 - Bass Solo
09 - Instrumental Tests 2
10 - 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 (Aug 17 - Sept 22), 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. In this case, listening to the recording itself doesn't provide any clues to help determine the location or the date, as the content played could match both late 1979 and 1980.

So clearly 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 commenter claiming he recorded it on December 31 just made it all up as a ruse or something. However, it is still very possible this recording was recorded sometime between Aug 17 - Sept 22 of 1979, though until we find any further documentation, this is the only specified date that has been attached to this recording.



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 moderately unsure by the way the original lossless files were labeled when I discovered them. It was named "1980-02-18 - Soundcheck Richfield", 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 that there's another completely different soundcheck recording which 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? Yes that would be the most likely case, though 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 copies of the tape or something, though I can't be positive. ("Check This Out", timestamp at 46:33 / soundcheck in question, timestamp at 8:11)

So the question is, is it another part of the Richfield 1980 soundcheck, or is it from late 1979, and if the latter, what is the date/location? 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 I think unknowns and inconsistencies like this should really be properly looked into. Sadly this may be hard to figure out without further information of the recordings' origins.