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Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary Box Set

By-Tor X-1

Staff member
If you haven't seen the news yet, the Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary sets have finally been revealed as of Friday, February 11.
This is said to* feature the complete concert at Maple Leaf Gardens on 25 March 1981 during the Moving Pictures tour, mixed by Terry Brown from multi-track soundboard recordings.

*Note: After the official release of Vital Signs, the performance undoubtedly being from 24 March 1981, I am yet to be sure if they just labeled the date wrong or swapped around a few songs.

It is planned for release on April 15, and you can pre-order from the official Rush Backstage store.
Pre-orders are now also available on Amazon: 3-CD / 5-LP / Super Deluxe

Instead of rewriting all my personal thoughts, I'll just copy paste what I posted on "The Rush Forum" yesterday:

I pre-ordered last night, I'm more than pleased. Despite some who still kept doubting it was going to happen, I've been confident that this was still coming after Alex and Hugh Syme re-confirmed it last year. Though I expected another mashup of select live tracks from various MP tour dates like they did for the PeW 40th (with the annoying fades between songs). I initially suspected some would be from Edmonton June 25, since that version of 2112 Overture / Temples was used for the 2112 Deluxe Edition released in 2012, which also featured A Passage To Bangkok from Manchester 1980 later reused for the PeW 40th set.
More recently I also had had a feeling some tracks would be from Toronto March 25, because they randomly blocked the old audience recording on YouTube a couple weeks ago.

I'm more than ecstatic they're releasing a complete setlist again from a single show, something they haven't done since the AFTK 40th.
I did not expect that at all. I sadly didn't think they'd put in the time, effort, and money for this type of output again.
In the meantime, I'm going to relisten to the audience recording of the March 25 show (and the previous two nights in Toronto) this weekend to reacquaint myself with the performance, in anticipation for the new mix.

I was dreaming for a remastered release of the Montreal footage (ESL), ideally even the complete concert if the full footage still exists, but I knew that was a lot to expect, so I didn't have high hopes.
It seems all they have left are old tape transfers used for the MTV premiere in the early 80s, which don't look that amazing. I'm not even really a serious videophile, it's just too dark and grainy.
I've heard mixed stores whether the original film reels still exist or not, but I imagine the truth is no one really knows, even if someone (here I think) once claimed the original film canisters were seen during making "Beyond The Lighted Stage".

All the other miscellaneous items in the package are what I'd expect based on previous 40th releases, but the drum sticks and die-cast Red Barchetta were a surprise and are really cool.

I don't have any complaints, and despite having certain feelings/concerns about some of the previous 40th sets (which I still love), I'm not hard to please when it comes to live material and am still always happy they give us anything in the first place. I hope the trend of using full concerts continues if they'll keep on with the 40th releases. Ideally I'd like to see them just launch a new line of purely CD releases (and digital for the non-physical audience), each release being a set of discs with all recordings they have sitting around in the archives for each tour (or at least 5 or so of the best concerts), something akin to Yes's "Seven Shows from Seventy-Two", and call each set something like "Rush Archives Legacy: Moving Pictures Tour 1981", etc. It would be easier to produce and sell cheaper (and probably sell better), and would give us dedicated fans satisfaction knowing cool live recordings are no longer sitting around unused and rotting for decades. These could even feature unheard demos and rare singles. Assuming recordings from the early tours in their possession is just as scarce as has been hinted, one set could be "Rush Archives Legacy: The Early Years 1973 - 1976", and finally feature a re-release of Not Fade Away / You Can't Fight It, and stuff like the Agora shows we all know if that's all they have. I don't think they have much pre-1978, but at the least we know they still have the three June 1976 Massey Hall recordings used to compile All The World's A Stage, all three which I'd personally love to hear in completion. Considering they pulled The Twilight Zone from the 17 April 1977 audience recording (and ruined it by upping the pitch way too high) for the 2112 40th, I don't imagine they really have much else, if anything, recorded from that era.

I hope someone at the record company sees this and at least takes note of the idea. Anyway, getting off my fantasy ramblings, I don't really expect them to go on too much longer with these huge, physical content filled, pricey 40th Anniversary sets, based on the overall audience scope, but I'm at least hoping for Signals since there are no known soundboards from that tour in circulation. As for that topic [quoting a comment wondering about which show may be used for a theoretical Signals 40th set], for me it'd ideally be a gig before Chemistry was dropped from the setlist.
Though if the May '83 shows yield the preferred performances, if they edit in Chemistry from an earlier recording into one of the European shows, I wouldn't be upset about that.
Kind of like how they replaced 2112 in the Pinkpop show with the one from Offenbach (Frankfurt) for Hemispheres 40th, but in proper setlist order this time. (Re-releasing a non-headlining gig like Pinkpop was a bit of a disappointment itself, but that's another topic)

I imagine the Nov 15, 16, & 17 Toronto gigs of 1982 and any of the May 1983 UK gigs would be the most likely candidates to have been recorded by the band. I think I'm seeing a slight trend that they tended to record hometown and overseas the most it seems, as well as consecutive nights marathoned at the same venue.


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On the note of more 40th anniversary sets: I really hope that Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows get ones. But considering that the Moving Pictures set didn't get full footage released, I have even more doubts that a Grace Under Pressure or Power Windows set would get any. But who knows?
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I ordered mine the day it opened for pre-release. I've been waiting for this one for a long time. Specifically, all of the vinyl. I have several vinyl bootlegs of this timeframe that I got when I was a lot younger. I also put my own compilations together of soundboard material from 78-83, including ESL, the ESL DVD and LaserDisc. That was the closest I could get until April 15th when this ships!!!
Vital Signs from the March 25 concert has been released on YouTube as of this morning. I didn't take the time to compare note from note, but on quick listening between this version and the audience recording, I don't seem to be detecting any major tampering other than the expected polishes. The performance appears to be the same.
What I did notice is that after the song ends in the audience recording, you can hear Neil make a couple sounds on the drums which aren't heard in the official release.
I also noticed that after the song ends, while Geddy only says "Everybody got vital signs" in the audience recording, Geddy says "Thank you!" preceding that phrase in the official release.
I remember noticing little things like this with the PeW 40th live tracks compared against those we had audience recordings for.

If my memory recalls correctly, in 2020 for the PeW 40th, we had a live track released on YouTube every other Friday leading up to release, so I'm assuming we'll see more live samples over the next few weeks.
I am hopeful that the bonus video for YYZ is a tribute to NP, and it's the ESL version of YYZ, including the drum solo. No one has ever seen it unless you were there and the release states a never before seen video of YYZ. Fingers crossed!
I am hopeful that the bonus video for YYZ is a tribute to NP, and it's the ESL version of YYZ, including the drum solo. No one has ever seen it unless you were there and the release states a never before seen video of YYZ. Fingers crossed!
That's kind of what I'm thinking, that new video has to be either lost YYZ footage from ESL, or another animated thing like what they did for The Spirit of Radio in 2020. I'm going to bet on the latter being the case. I know the live YYZ is heard at the end of the ESL video, but I feel if there was a cut video transfer for the song specifically, we would have seen it in some form over the years. In regards to the entire Montreal footage, it seems to either be long lost or just not seen as worth their time to transfer and remaster, otherwise now was as good of a time as ever to do so.
Update: The "Thank you! Everybody got... vital signs" phrase from Geddy matches the March 24th audience recording. That leads me to believe one of three scenarios here. Either they mix-matched the "best" versions from each of the three nights and still called it March 25th, is largely March 25 but swapped in a few "better" song performances, or they just put the wrong date entirely. It will be easier to determine when we have more tracks. If this is surprising to anyone, remember that the Hemispheres 40th had the Offenbach version of 2112, but labeled it as the Tuscon version.
As of yesterday, the YouTube video for 24 March 1981 has now been blocked worldwide. This comes after the video for 25 March 1981 was blocked worldwide about a month ago, a couple weeks before the Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary release was revealed, which led me to speculate it was coming soon and may feature songs from that performance.

The live concert in the MP 40th set claims to be of March 25, however with the sample of Vital Signs released on the official channel, after note by note comparison, I can confirm without a doubt it is in fact from the March 24 performance. Whether the entire official release will actually be March 24, or they mix-matched certain songs is yet to be known until more tracks are available.

Interestingly, the timestamp provided for the worldwide block on my March 25 video covered Vital Signs, and that was the first song they gave us a sample of. Since the date has proven inaccurate, I don't believe this is the usual A.I. blocking, rather a direct copyright claim by someone with the record label. My March 24 video was given a timestamp for Limelight as to why it has been blocked, therefore I suspect Limelight will be the next sample we get from the official release. Whatever the next sample will be, I will compare the track note from note with the audience recordings and make a definite determination of the date. Again, if any of this seems surprising, don't forget that the version of 2112 in Hemispheres 40th set claimed to be the Tuscon 1978 version, when in fact it was the Offenbach Stadthalle 1979 version.

Update: Following the previous part of this message I wrote earlier today, it looks like the 25 March 1981 video has been made visible to everyone again, but 24 March 1981 remains blocked. Perhaps the date error was realized by whoever was issuing the copyright claims? No telling if further blocks/unblocks will happen, but we'll have to see when more official tracks are released. My strongest theory is that the entire official show is March 24 despite them calling it March 25, rather than certain songs mix-matched between the two dates.
I think the only way we will know for sure is when it's released and we have it in our hands. For all we know, it could be three dates and stated in the actual release. Whereas, the official announcement could be wrong. Or, they are just being simpletons cause they think Rush fans are... should know better, cause no Rush fan is a simpleton. You can't be to keep up with the time changes in the songs!
Well, disappointing... Just an animated video. Good video, but not ESL.
I personally enjoyed it. From the thumbnail of the premiere, I could tell it was going to be an animated music video. I really hope they do these for Signals and Grace Under Pressure too!
I was highly expecting another animated video, ESL Montreal footage was the only other option and I knew that was very unlikely and didn't have high hopes.
That being said, I thought it was pretty cool. Not as enjoyable as the 2020 Spirit Of Radio animation in my opinion, but still good.
I need to watch it again, I caught it during the premiere but was somewhat mentally distracted. My favorite part was the dialogue at the end from Ged and Alex, specifically the "yizz" line.

I personally enjoyed it. From the thumbnail of the premiere, I could tell it was going to be an animated music video. I really hope they do these for Signals and Grace Under Pressure too!

I think The Analog Kid would make a good animated video.
The live version of Limelight was released two days ago. I've been listening to it alongside the audience versions, but I'm still not quite able to make a definite determination on the date, all I can say for certain is Geddy's introduction to the song is undoubtedly from the March 25 recording. Someone told me they think the actual song is from March 24, but I'm just not quite detecting anything that sticks out to help make a definite claim.

Tom Sawyer from the Toronto show was released today. I'm pretty confident that this seems to be the March 24 performance.

Reminder, the 40th Anniversary sets are due for release a week from today.
Received my mega 40th anniversary box set a day early. I would have to say, the quality of the live in YYZ CD recordings are very well done. Same with the bluray audio, with multiple surround formats (only moving pictures, no live recordings). I hope to listen to the vinyl this weekend. Very pleasantly surprised and happy that we did not get another "version" of Exit... Stage Left.
Received my mega 40th anniversary box set a day early. I would have to say, the quality of the live in YYZ CD recordings are very well done. Same with the bluray audio, with multiple surround formats (only moving pictures, no live recordings). I hope to listen to the vinyl this weekend. Very pleasantly surprised and happy that we did not get another "version" of Exit... Stage Left.

I was surprised some people got their sets nearly a full week early. Mine is still due for arrival on Monday, I can’t wait to hear it.
I received my MP 40th in the mail today! I just finished listening to the live show, and I personally quite enjoy it.

So here's what the liner notes say about the live content:

Recorded live at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON by Guy Charbonneau using Le Mobile Remote Recording March 24 & 25, 1981
Mixed by Terry Brown at Blue Sound & Music. Toronto, ON - December 2020 - February 2021
Technical Assistance: Russ Mackay

That confirms the theory that while it is the complete MP tour setlist in proper order, the best version of each song between March 24 and 25 was chosen to compile this "Live In YYZ" release.
During Geddy's dialogue after Freewill, he states it is their "third and final night at the Gardens", indicating March 25, so this is likely to be the date the show will be commonly referred to as.
However as we know some performances are taken from the March 24 show, so I will soon attempt to provide a track by track synopsis of where each song and dialogue bits are taken from.
I'm still doing ongoing comparisons when I get the chance, but what I will say is that so far 2112, Freewill, and the succeeding dialogue are all from March 25, while Limelight up through Red Barchetta are all seemingly from March 24. There's a margin or error of course, but I'm listening to every song rotating between the official and the two audience recordings at several second intervals, mainly focusing on Geddy's voice, or certain pronounced or unique instrumental bits. If you think it's insanity, I agree with you.

Of course I noticed the expected editing, but nothing major as far as I can tell. Alex breaks a string during Red Barchetta in the audience recording for March 24, but it is not in the official release, yet Geddy's vocals and a few intrumental bits are surely from March 24. A very small handful of instances it seemed small bits of vocals were patched in, since the vocals seemed they possibly didn't match either audience show, though I can't really be sure. So either it was skilled editing or small patches from a completely different show. Remember, this was mixed from multitrack tapes, so edits like this would be very easy. Overall though, the dates have been very identifiable, it does not seem to be a huge hodgepodge of elements from each show for each song. A few songs were so shockingly on point between the performances that I really struggled to determine a date, such as Limelight, but no song so far I was left completely unable to decide, just with a reasonable margin of error.

Other things I noticed, during The Camera Eye the "ello, morning gov" line was omitted from the official mix, but Geddy clearly says it in the audience recordings.

Also as a side note, I just noticed both of my videos on YouTube for the March 24 and 25 audience recordings are no longer blocked from view, unless you live in Russia or Belarus, so thanfully the worldwide blocks a few months ago were only temporary.
Done with my comparisons! You may be surprised by what I've found. So here's my synopsis on the official release:

01 - 2112: Overture / Temples Of Syrinx - March 25
02 - Freewill - March 25
xx - dialogue - March 25
03 - Limelight - March 24
xx - dialogue - March 24
04 - Hemispheres: Prelude - March 24
05 - Beneath, Between And Behind - March 24
xx - dialogue - March 24
06 - The Camera Eye - March 24
xx - dialogue - March 24
07 - YYZ - March 24
08 - Drum Solo - March 24
09 - YYZ (Reprise) - March 24
xx - dialogue - March 24
10 - Broon's Bane - March 24
11 - The Trees - March 24
12 - Xanadu - March 24
13 - The Spirit Of Radio - March 24
xx - dialogue - March 24
14 - Red Barchetta - March 24
xx - dialogue - March 24
15 - Closer To The Heart - March 24
xx - dialogue - (cut from March 24 tape, but does not match March 25; likely March 24)
16 - Tom Sawyer - March 24
17 - Vital Signs - March 24
xx - dialogue - March 24
18 - Natural Science - March 24
19 - Working Man - March 24
20 - Hemispheres: Armageddon - March 24
21 - By-Tor And The Snow Dog - March 24
22 - In The End - March 24
23 - In The Mood - March 24
24 - 2112: Grand Finale - March 24
xx - dialogue goodnight - March 24
xx - dialogue encore - March 25
25 - La Villa Strangiato - March 25
xx - dialogue second goodnight - neither (though I think its a repeat of the goodnight after March 24 Grand Finale, but sped up)

In summary, the entire show is March 24, with the exception of the beginning with 2112, Freewill and its succeeding dialogue, then the encore with La Villa Strangiato all being March 25.

As I noted above, along with the "ello, mornin gov" being removed from The Camera Eye, I've also noticed that Alex's backing vocals are not featured during In The Mood, nor are Geddy's vocalizations during La Villa Strangiato. (I noted a few days ago about Neil's "ding" being missing from Hemispheres, but I was wrong, it is indeed there)

Also, Alex breaks a string during Red Barchetta in the March 24 audience recording, but it is not present in the official release, while Geddy's vocals and other instrumental details led me to believe the song is all from March 24, the part when the guitar was being changed must've been patched in from March 25.

Most songs I was very certain about the date, some details were distinguishable. Though some songs I had real trouble finding differences/likeness, which were Limelight, The Camera Eye, YYZ (though the drum solo was easily identifiable), and The Spirit Of Radio. However I heard enough things that made me say "I think this sounds like March 24" or "I think March 25 sounds a bit different than this", so I'm comfortable with my claims above. None left me completely unable to decide. Of course, there is always a margin of error if more complex edits were made that eluded my ears.

Anyway, I'm glad making these comparisons is done. I hope this is interesting and/or informative to some of you.

If you haven't purchased the new release, I created a playlist on YouTube using the videos from the official Rush channel.