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About "Rush Archives"

By-Tor X-1

Archivist
Staff member
About "Rush Archives":

"Part I: Background"

Some unspecified number of years ago, Rush had became a serious obsession of mine, I learned all the songs, albums, lyrics by heart, the history of the band, etc. It became the central interest/hobby of my life, and I knew by the magnitude of it that it would remain for life. The musicianship and lyrics stimulated me like no other band ever had, and soon made it that I'd not often care to go back and listen to anyone else. I had known a good handful of Rush songs for years prior, and I thought I had "all-time favorite" bands in the past, but nothing came close to what I eventually experienced when Rush fully "clicked" with me. Nothing has changed since. I later learned that this exact unique experience is not uncommon among the most dedicated Rush fans. Naturally, it seems anyone who develops these obsessions with Rush will dive into the rabbit hole that is "bootleg" live recordings. We've listened to the studio albums and official live albums many times, but eventually need something more to go along with it. We want to hear live versions of songs that were never on official albums. Some of us go from surface level "bootlegs" and eventually start going deeper and deeper, and eventually want to hear everything ever recorded.

I first started "Rush Archives" in April 2019 after several years of scouring the Internet for recordings that were documented on Digital Rush Experience which were known to exist, yet only a select handful were ever able to be found anywhere online. Often times when I would find things, they were long dead download links, or links to file hosts that try to make you pay or be forced to wait several hours for the download to finish, and/or limiting how often you can download a file from that host. So I knew a lot of recordings existed, but simply couldn't find too many overall. Those that were available weren't even organized or consistent, just sporadically posted in places, and just overall took forever to download them. It was annoying, and after a while I was tired of all of it. I decided to create Rush Archives to consolidate and organize all Rush recordings I had been able to find, which in turn would help others find these recordings easier as well. That also allowed me to control how things are formatted and to make sure downloads will remain available.

Another thing that really encouraged the idea for me to create the Archive was when the 1975 Northampton Roxy Theater soundboard recording from the Fly By Night tour publicly surfaced on Christmas 2018. It really made me really realize that amazing recordings definitely could still lie hidden, unknown and forgotten, or worse yet some that may be hoarded by "elite" collectors. Several years prior I had been seriously involved in preservation and archival work in a completely unrelated fanbase, that of which I eventually no longer had interest in as I got older. Though what I then realized is one fact remains true in any scene/fanbase that has valuables/rarities, that people hoard things. For one reason or another, they permanently hide rarities from the public, usually for either "I may one day need it to trade for other extreme rarities", or simply to say "I have something you don't!". The fanbase I was involved with several years ago was really bad, and most people didn't even know what was being hidden out there. Without going into needless details, I made an impact, and had a big part in obtaining and publicizing many things as much as I could before I was ready to move on. I really don't know how much is being hoarded when it comes to Rush recordings, however I wouldn't doubt one bit that there is awesome stuff out there that most people aren't aware of. I currently have no leg in that door though, that's just simply an observation I've made based on some comments I've seen recently, and some stories about recordings that were liberated decades ago. My current focus for this project is solely on working to share what is known to exist but otherwise largely not really accessible. However, if I come across circumstances that may lead to obtaining something totally new, I'll do it. It's not necessarily all about the hoarding either, I think with these recordings a lot of the time people are just sitting on old tapes that they forgot about or simply don't realize their immense value to the community as a whole. One day I do hope to try better reaching out to people like this.

Well from April 2019 to about July/August 2020, I was still scouring the Internet for whatever Rush recordings I could find. Though I was very persistent and observant, and eventually I contacted someone who surprisingly turned out to have 1.5TB worth of Rush recordings, which he claimed to be most of everything as far as he could tell. Luckily we made a deal and I was able to obtain a copy of these on a hard drive. Apparently this hard drive was given out several years ago to people who put their name on a list on "The Rush Forum", so this thing is out there, it just took quite a while for myself to find a way to obtain it.

Since obtaining the hard drive back in August, I knew I finally had what I needed to do what I had dreamed of doing for a long time: creating an archive of Rush content that anyone can easily access, easily browse, easily find, and easily download. When I started Rush Archives on April 2019, I had no idea how far I'd be able to go with the project before hitting a dead end. I created the forum with a free forum host that anyone can create a free website with. I paid a small amount of money to use a custom domain/url, and some other fees to remove ads, however, once I knew my project could go all the way, I decided it was time to update the website and take it totally independent, running it as any other website. Late last month, March 2021, I successfully launched the new website with a modern forum design, totally under my own independent operation for longevity into the future.

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"Part II: Method Of Operation"

Listed under the spoiler in the second post of the Archive Directory is pretty much the entirety of all the Rush recordings in my possession. They are copied among several 2TB external hard drives for safe backup. The only things that are not listed there are a handful of interviews I acquired from another source last month, which are cut into individual tracks and labeled only in the file properties, so copying a list of the raw file names here would not yield any information unless/until I type it all out manually.

As far as I can see, I have every recording listed on Digital Rush Experience, besides an occasional alternate bootleg version of a recording I already have. Those versions which I don't have I would assume are likely poorer quality versions anyway. Since DRE hasn't been updated since around 2010, I have quite a bit more than what is listed there, not just from the most recent tours, but older recordings that have publicly surfaced more recently.

DRE also has a good bit of occasional incorrect dates/locations listed, and a few recordings that turned out to be fake relabeled/altered recordings. Most "fake" recordings that circulated in the past are no longer listed there, but a few remain. Everything I once noticed I was missing turned out to be fakes/hoaxes when I did some research. For example "1976-09-22 - 'Bastille Nights' - Dome Arena, Henrietta(Rochester), New York" I found was not legitimate. It was the 1976-05-30 Nelson Center, Springfield, Illinois recording with segments cut out between songs. Another example, I found an unlisted recording for Ventura, California from 26 November 1974, however it comprised of five tracks taken from the 16 December 1974 Agora Ballroom soundboard with fade ins/outs between songs, and a lot of effects added to distort the bass frequencies really badly, in order to sound like a totally different recording. I thoroughly research each and every recording to make sure I have accurate details before uploading, to make sure things like this or otherwise things like simple date or location errors don't continue being taken as fact. I'll detail the general research process a bit more below.

The only content I know I do not have a good collection of is interviews. There are a lot of interviews I've heard of, or seen on YouTube, but are not in my collection. Luckily I found a different source about a month ago with a decent amount of interviews I did not have, however these are only MP3 versions. If you are a strict collector of lossless files only, sorry, if I find them one day I will surely upload them. I will make sure to archive whatever I can find though, lossless or not. Sadly, there are still interviews I know I do not have yet. Also, for some odd reason I seem to be lacking many recordings from the Clockwork Angels tour, and from that tour only. However, I can gather those via the methods I was doing before I obtained the hard drive, so I'm not worried about that.

Yes, I do plan to upload every recording. Specifically, making certain I analyze and select the superior version of each unique recording, if multiple versions should exist. For example "1974-08-26 - The Fifth Order Of Angels"/"*Sirius Master" is the best source and quality of this soundboard recording, so that is the version featured publicly on Rush Archives. The other versions are inferior and will remain offline in the "back catalog". Sometimes in cases like this, the inferior versions are also missing several tracks. I don't have enough space to be uploading each and every inferior version, and I'm certain 99% of people don't want those anyway, however they will be available privately by special request if you send me a private message.

Different sources of recordings from the same date, such as a soundboard and an audience recording of the same concert, will both be uploaded if each have something unique to offer. For example "1984-09-27 - Capital Centre, Largo, Maryland" has both soundboard and audience versions, however neither feature the entire concert nor contain the same songs, therefore I have uploaded both.

Other special circumstances may present themselves to where I decide it is important to publicly archive two versions of the same concert, however as a general rule, the guidelines mentioned above is my plan of operation.

Yes, I really do plan to upload everything. Rush has been central to my daily life for years, and I'm very obsessive about these things. I care about this content very much. I'm not going to disappear off the face of the internet one day, nor abandon this project. You can count on Rush Archives to remain a constant resource for years to come, regardless of potential roadblocks. It may take me some time, while dealing with personal life and all that comes with it. I am only one person managing this project, but I definitely have the persistence to achieve this vision.

I often tend to pick recordings at random to upload usually based on a specific tour that is on my mind, though sometimes I'll work on a group of dates at a time. More recently, I started doing chronological uploads, so as of this writing every known recording from the debut 1974 tour up through the end of the AFTK tour in mid 1978 have been uploaded. I've taken a break from chronological work, but I do plan to get back to it with the Hemispheres and onward at some point this year. If there is anything specific you want me to upload from any tour, feel free to comment here or private message me, and hopefully I'm not too overloaded to put it on my to-do list.

A handful of these recordings are a mess. Incorrect dates, venues, locations, wrong track listings, etc. I research each and every one of these to determine all information is accurate before they are uploaded here. Cygnus-X1.net is my main tour listing source, as his details are very accurate, updated with postponement corrections from fans etc, and has side notes if applicable. Cygnus-X1's tour listing was also more recently updated to reflect information in the new book "Wandering the Face of the Earth: The Official Touring History", which is the definitive official source for tour information. If you're interested in Rush bootleg recordings, you won't regret buying that book. The official Rush website's tour listing is very outdated, and can tend to be very sloppy and inaccurate.

I always find it really annoying how so many recordings have track file names plainly labeled without the song title, and are just "Track01" or something. Correcting this is part of my process when getting files ready for uploading. The track listings tend to be in a txt file, which otherwise is usually its only useful purpose. Sometimes the txt files contain interesting information, which I keep there as well as reference in the notes for each recording's thread on this site. I love having backgrounds of recordings, sadly however those are few and far between. I also always have to listen to the entire recording first. In the case of track listing, sometimes an incomplete recording with a less obvious setlist can sometimes be listed with incorrect song titles I've noticed.

Though in general, listening to an entire recording ensures that I'm fully aware what it sounds like and what it contains. It allows me to make notes on any interesting unique aspects it may have, such as hiccups, or something Geddy says between songs, as well as noting the occasional temporary cuts in songs. Most importantly, it allows me to be aware of problems with the recording itself, such channel drop outs, and speed, pitch and/or tempo issues. I'm not an expert at remastering audio, however I am skilled enough to improve problems such as this, thus making an otherwise crappy recording much more enjoyable to listen to. Another little thing that annoys me, sometimes songs start playing before switching to the next track, so I'll move bits of audio to make sure all the tracks are split properly.

I retain the original lossless audio files (FLAC or SHN) alongside adding MP3 conversions, and any necessary edits to the audio are noted in the txt file logging what I've done. I upload 320kbps (best quality) MP3 conversions for every recording. "Why?", purists may ask. It is way more convenient and simple for the majority of people who simply want to dig deeper into Rush "bootlegs", or someone who just wants to find a concert they had attended. As an archivist, I'm aware and acknowledge the lossless files are important for proper preservation, however for me that is simply what they are for, as I personally can't detect the audible differences some people claim to hear (my opinion), but they're there for you to use of course if you want to. I'm also aware that most people who want lossless files, only want lossless files, and most people who want MP3 files, only want MP3 files. That's why I'm featuring separate download links for both formats.

I also add the file properties/tags to all MP3 and FLAC files, such as album title, artist, year, etc. I keep it simple and organized, album titles are the date and location, so they are organized chronologically and are obvious what each recording is when viewed in the audio player of your choice. The particular bootleg title that may have given to a recording is still noted in the txt file, if you care about that, and can also clearly still be seen in the album artwork. The bootleg artwork is retained out of historical interest, if artwork was available, and it gives the files something to look pretty when viewing it in your audio player. Personally, I use iTunes because I have an old 64GB iPod loaded exclusively with Rush content, which I use on a regular basis when I'm on the road for hours a day for my job.

If for some reason you don't like my clean up processing I do to each recording, you can contact me privately to request the recording from the raw master compilation, just as I mentioned earlier if you want one of the inferior sounding/incomplete bootleg versions.

One thing I started doing that got more involved than I initially planned, is uploading recordings on YouTube that hadn't already been uploaded by someone in the past. YouTube gives these recordings an extreme ease of access, and is also a great way to share them with people who otherwise may not find them on this site. I got way more involved on YouTube, because I obtained much more of a following there than I expected. Something I've recently been planning on doing, I want to eventually upload everything featured on this site on YouTube, even if they have already been uploaded. Why? I initially didn't want to do so because I didn't want to be putting out content people had already found on YouTube. Now however, I've seen several videos become private, get deleted, or disappear for one reason or another. I get that it may not always be the choice of the uploader, but YouTube does not care about blocking these recordings in general other than a few instances that I know of. I've always posted YouTube videos in the threads on this site to give people a quick easy way to sample the recording before downloading. It'll make it easier for me to manage videos linked here if I have everything uploaded on my own channel. Not only that, what I really would like to do is eventually make an "ultimate live playlist" of every live recording in chronological order, and perhaps by tour as well, all organized and uniformly titled. As you may be able to tell by now, I'm quite a bit obsessive-compulsive.

Lastly, I'm currently going back and double checking some of my older uploads, specifically those I uploaded before obtaining the hard drive, when I revisit those dates during my chronological run through. I'm making sure I have the superior versions uploaded, just in case what I had found in the past wasn't the best. It also will give me the chance to fix things such as speed issues I may have missed before I was audibly analyzing every recording entirely. If the video linked in the thread is uploaded to my channel, that means I've likely already made sure the download is the best version. I'm also putting a note for if I reuploaded the files, under the notes section in each thread, that way you'll know if I have a superior version available to one you downloaded here before. For the lossless uploads, I do plan to go back and convert all SHN files to FLAC, for any SHNs I previously uploaded. I understand that SHNs are the outdated format and much more annoying to use, when compared to FLAC.

Ideally one day I'd like to get rid of the mega links and host the files directly on the site, but currently that option could become fairly costly considering the amount of hosting storage I'd need.

I also may soon try to write some sort of "beginner's guide" list of the best sounding recordings from each tour, that way it is easier for people to get into these recordings without having to dig through some of the poorer recordings and be turned off by it.

That about concludes this very long "About" summary. I'd been planning to write up something like this for many months, but never really took a night off to do so. I hope this is informative and helpful, and I truly hope that Rush Archives is appreciated by people who have the same interests as me.

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If you are interested in making a donation to help keep the website server and file hosting services paid for and help insure the archive will be operating for decades to come, you can visit the donation page here. Thank you for your support. -- By-Tor X-1
 
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