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Archive 101: A Beginner's Guide To Rush Bootlegs

By-Tor X-1

Staff member
* Not to be confused with the entire Archive Directory *

This list will comprise the best sounding and/or most significant recordings from each tour. The purpose of this list is to make it easier for Rush fans who are less familiar with bootlegs to start experiencing the joy these recordings have to offer, without being initially exposed to unnecessary poorer quality or incomplete recordings, and perhaps ultimately turned away from these recordings due to a bad first impression.

I will be regularly updating and/or modifying this list as I'm chronologically uploading all known Rush recordings.
Rush Tour:
18 March 1974 - 2 February 1975

1974-05-15 - Laura Secord Secondary School, St. Catharines, Ontario [Proshot] (only live recording, audio or video, featuring John Rutsey on drums)
1974-08-14 - Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (poor quality; but very important due to being the first live performance with Neil Peart)
1974-08-26 - Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio [SBD] (excellent quality; headlining setlist; quintessential recording from the debut tour)
1974-11-19 - Paramount Northwest Theatre, Seattle, Washington (features one of three known recordings of Fancy Dancer)
1974-11-28 - Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, California (features one of three known recordings Fancy Dancer)
1974-12-16 - Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio [SBD] (another quintessential recording of the tour, and features and early version of Fly By Night)
1974-12-22 - Electric Lady Studios, New York City, New York [SBD] (yet another excellent quality show, and another early recording of Fly By Night)
Fly By Night Tour:
8 February 1975 - 26 September 1975

1975-03-11 - Roxy Theater, Northampton, Pennsylvania [SBD] (excellent quality, very early in the tour, but some FBN songs apparently weren't played live yet)
1975-04-07 - Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio [SBD] (probably the best known recording of the FBN tour, most FBN songs that were played live, were played during this show)
1975-06-25 - Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario (only three recordings from the FBN tour are known, so this one stands as being important due to that, and probably the best setlst of the tour)
Caress Of Steel Tour:
29 September 1975 - 8 March 1976

1975-11-15 - Rockford Armory, Rockford, Illinois (not the best quality, yet very important being one of only two recordings from the COS tour, and only of The Necromancer in full)
1976-03-05 - Randhurst Ice Arena, Mount Prospect, Illinois (only known live recording of I Think I'm Going Bald, and one of only two recordings from the COS tour)
2112 Tour:
15 March 1976 - 22 September 1976

1976-03-26 - Paramount Northwest Theatre, Seattle, Washington [SBD] (the earliest known recording of 2112, near immediately after the album was released)
1976-05-30 - Nelson Center, Springfield, Illinois [SBD] (along with the above, both soundboard recordings, and both full headline setlists)
All The World's A Stage Tour:
28 September 1976 - 13 June 1977

1976-11-13 - Rockford Armory, Rockford, Illinois (earliest headline concert recording from the ATWAS era; one of three known recordings of The Twilight Zone)
1976-11-28 - Selland Arena, Fresno, California (not a headlining setlist, but one of the best sounding of the tour)
1976-12-10 - Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey [Proshot] (one of four publicly available pieces of proshot Rush footage from the 1970s)
1976-12-31 - Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario (one of three known recordings of The Twilight Zone; interesting intermission to welcome in the New Year)
1977-04-17 - Lisner Auditorium, Washington, D.C. (one of three known recordings of The Twilight Zone, better quality than the Toronto Dec 31 recording; possibly one of the best tapes from the tour)
1977-06-01 - Oval Hall of Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield, England (probably the best quality recording of a headlining ATWAS tour setlist)
1977-06-02 - Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England (another contender for best ATWAS headlining recording, though there are a few cuts)
A Farewell To Kings Tour:
20 August 1977 - 28 May 1978

1977-08-23 - Exhibition Stadium, Toronto, Ontario
1977-09-29 - Warnors Theatre, Fresno, California
1977-12-10 - Hollywood Sportatorium, Hollywood, Florida
1978-02-14 - Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle, England
1978-02-17 - The Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland
1978-02-20 - Hammersmith Odeon, London, England [SBD]
1978-02-22 - Oval Hall of Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield, England
Hemispheres Tour:
14 October 1978 - 4 June 1979

1978-11-04 - Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia
1978-11-20 - Tucson Community Center Arena, Tucson, Arizona [SBD]
1978-12-02 - Cobo Hall Arena, Detroit, Michigan [SBD]
1979-01-11 - Boston Music Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
1979-04-30 - Manchester Apollo, Manchester, England
1979-05-28 - Stadthalle, Offenbach, Germany [SBD]
1979-06-04 - PinkPop Festival, Geleen, Netherlands [SBD]
Permanent Waves Warm-Up Tour:
17 August 1979 - 22 September 1979

1979-09-02 - Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario
1979-09-08 - Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, Wisconsin
1979-09-12 - Allentown Fairgrounds, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Permanent Waves Tour:
17 January 1980 - 22 June 1980

1980-01-21 - The Forum, Montreal, Quebec
1980-01-26 - Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York [SBD] (notable for being an excellent soundboard recording, however most of the show is missing)
1980-02-02 - Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas (the quintessential show of this tour due to being both complete and in excellent quality)
1980-02-13 - Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri [SBD] (this is the most popular, and best sounding, however a good handful of songs are missing)
Moving Pictures Warm-Up Tour:
11 September 1980 - 1 October 1980

1980-09-30 - Allentown Fairgrounds, Allentown, Pennsylvania [SBD]
Moving Pictures Tour:
20 February 1981 - 5 July 1981

1981-03-01 - International Amphitheater, Chicago, Illinois
1981-03-24 - Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
1981-03-25 - Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
1981-06-12 - Convention Center, Anaheim, California
Exit Stage Left Tour:
29 October 1981 - 22 December 1981

1981-10-31 - Deeside Leisure Centre, Queensferry, Wales
1981-11-11 - Musikhalle, Hamburg, Germany
1981-11-12 - Hemmerleinhalle, Neunkirchen Am Brand, Germany
1981-11-14 - Ahoy Sportpaleis, Rotterdam, Netherlands
1981-11-19 - Sporthalle Böblingen, Stuttgart, Germany
1981-12-20 - Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut
Signals Warm-Up Tour:
1 April 1982 - 12 April 1982

1982-04-07 - Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, Mississippi
1982-04-11 - Lakeland Civic Center, Lakeland, Florida
Signals Tour:
3 September 1982 - 25 May 1983

1982-12-08 - Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
1982-12-09 - Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
1983-04-08 - The Forum, Montreal, Quebec [VID]
1983-04-09 - The Forum, Montreal, Quebec [VID] [AUD]
1983-05-21 - Wembley Arena, London, England
Grace Under Pressure Warm-Up Tour:
18 September 1983 - 23 September 1983

1983-09-18 - Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York
1983-09-22 - Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York
1983-09-23 - Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York
Grace Under Pressure Tour:
7 May 1984 - 25 November 1984

1984-05-19 - Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia
1984-06-25 - MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (stellar audience tape that is often mistaken as a soundboard)
1984-07-15 - Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec (excellent audience source and is the second last performance of Afterimage live)
1984-09-27 - Capital Centre, Largo, Maryland [SBD]
1984-11-21 - Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan (contains at least 6 unique audio tape sources with unrivaled auditorium dynamics and an incomplete video recording)
1984-11-25 - Blaisdell Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii [SBD] (a very very clean soundboard of the final date of the tour, missing only a few songs)
Power Windows Warm-Up Tour:
11 March 1985 - 15 March 1985

1985-03-12 - Lakeland Civic Center, Lakeland, Florida
Power Windows Tour:
4 December 1985 - 26 May 1986

1986-03-03 - The Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec [VID]
1986-03-24 - MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1986-03-31 - Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
1986-04-01 - Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
1986-04-16 - The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [SBD]
Hold Your Fire Tour:
29 October 1987 - 5 May 1988

1987-11-02 - Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia
1987-11-07 - Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island
1987-12-07 - Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
1988-02-21 - Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee
1988-03-08 - Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
1988-04-02 - Civic Auditorium Arena, Omaha, Nebraska
1988-04-21 - National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England
1988-04-23 - National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England
1988-04-23 - National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England [SBD]
1988-04-24 - National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England
1988-04-26 - Scottish Exhibition Centre, Glasgow, Scotland
1988-04-28 - Wembley Arena, London, England
1988-04-29 - Wembley Arena, London, England
1988-04-30 - Wembley Arena, London, England
Presto Tour:
17 February 1990 - 29 June 1990

1990-05-08 - Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut [SBD]
1990-06-17 - Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, Wisconsin
Roll The Bones Tour:
25 October 1991 - 28 June 1992

1991-12-07 - Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York [SBD]
1992-01-30 - Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, California [SBD]
1992-06-20 - Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, New York
Counterparts Tour:
22 January 1994 - 7 May 1994

1994-01-18 - Pensacola Civic Center, Pensacola, Florida [Rehearsal] [SBD]
1994-03-08 - Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
1994-03-09 - Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
1994-03-22 - The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan [Proshot]
1994-04-29 - The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [SBD]
Test For Echo Tour:
19 October 1996 - 18 December 1996
7 May 1997 - 4 July 1997

1996-10-18 - Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, New York [Rehearsal] [SBD]
1997-07-02 - Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, Ontario
Vapor Trails Tour:
28 June 2002 - 23 November 2002

2002-06-28 - Meadows Music Center, Hartford, Connecticut
R30 Tour:
26 May 2004 - 1 October 2004

Snakes & Arrows Tour:
13 June 2007 - 29 October 2007
11 April 2008 - 24 July 2008

Time Machine Tour:
29 June 2010 - 17 October 2010
30 March 2011 - 2 July 2011

Clockwork Angels Tour:
7 September 2012 - 2 December 2012
18 April 2013 - 4 August 2013

R40 Tour:
8 May 2015 - 1 August 2015


Debut Single: Not Fade Away / You Can't Fight It (1973)
Power Windows Demo Tape (1985)
So I've had this thread in my private forum for over a year now, hoping to eventually publish it in a more complete state, but I've finally decided to just make it publicly visible now and hopefully help the many people who have been asking me questions about best shows to start with.

This list is very incomplete, which is why I've held it back for so long, but I will be editing it regularly as I post more shows, and I'll try to use my best judgement when considering which recordings to add to this list.

For reference, I'm currently near the end of the Hemispheres tour in my chronological work-through. Anything on this list after that point (as of this writing), is subject to major changes, with shows being added or removed from the list. Also, as I've stated on my Directory page, any show I've previously uploaded before I started my chronological work-through (a sure sign of this is if I've yet to go back and separate the lossless audio and mp3 files into two separate downloads) is subject to possibly be replaced with a better quality version of that show. This again is due to my lack of having every circulating Rush recording available to me at that point in time.

If anyone has any suggestions of what to add and/or remove from this list, please let me know. Any help with this list would be greatly appreciated! That also goes for shows I haven't yet uploaded. For example, if there's a really good R30 show that I haven't uploaded yet, please let me know and I may temporarily jump out of my chronological work-through just to get it available sooner.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions, etc about anything related to Rush recordings in general. I'm here to help.
Make sure for the MECCA Arena concert on the Grace Under Pressure Tour, you listen to the high-quality version in the comments. With proper equalization, it completely outshines the "Experience to Extremes" Version.