Rush – “A Farewell To Kings – 40th Anniversary” 3CD / 4LP/ Blu-ray (UMC/Mercury/Anthem/ole Records)
Released back in 1977, this 5th album by Rush built on the success of “2112” and went further in widening their sound through increasing prog elements as well as the use of synthesizers, classical guitars and tubular bells. Becoming Rush’s first US gold-selling album, it would eventually reach platinum and as most Rush fans know, remains a staple in their collection. Now, some 40 years later (!), comes this extensive and lavish expanded addition available in 4 distinct configurations – well, you know it’s Rush so nothing is ever simple ha ha. I won’t even bother going into the details of the formats because it would drive me nuts so onto the music! All the packages encompass the Abbey Road Mastering Studios 2015 remastered edition of the 6 track album for the first time on CD in various mixes; a complete 15 track Rush concert recorded in February 1978 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, newly mixed by longtime Rush engineer and original “A Farewell To Kings” producer Terry Brown from the multi-track live tapes; four newly-recorded cover versions of songs from the original album by Dream Theater, Big Wreck, The Trews and Alain Johannes; and an instrumental studio outtake of the spacey sound effects the band has creatively titled ‘Cygnus X-2 Eh’. The Hammersmith show features, for the first-time ever, over 34 minutes of unreleased performances including a complete ‘2112’ suite, ‘Xanadu’, ‘Cygnus X-1’, ‘Working Man’, radio hit ‘Closer To The Heart’ – and of course, a powering 6 minute+ Neil Peart drum solo so that should treat fans of ‘The Professor’! Additionally the Super Deluxe Edition also features 3 original 1977 promo videos from a newly found 2-inch quad video master significantly improving the video quality especially for ‘Closer To The Heart’. Completed by a new 40th anniversary cover by longtime Rush creative director Hugh Syme and extensive 12,000-word liner notes by Grammy® winning rock historian Rob Bowman, this band endorsed anniversary edition to one of their legendary albums puts Rush once again at the forefront of the classic rock world!