Review: Rush, R40: The Completist/OCD Set (Anthem, 2014).
Birzer Rating: 10/10
I had a very good and hearty chuckle when I saw that Bestbuy and the official Rush website offered not just R40— a 10-disc set of every Rush concert DVD released over the past decade+—but actually offered a “Completist” set.
The Completist set provides not just the 10 discs, but an extra disc containing roughly another hour-plus of video. The non-Completist version already includes over two hours of never-before-seen video. But, what self-respecting Neil Peart fan or Rush fan would not be a Completist. To be a Rush fan is to be a Completist! Being OCD comes easily for us Rush fans.
So, of course, I gritted my teeth and started exploring my local Bestbuys. 20 years ago, I loved Bestbuy. Now, I find it suffocating. But, it was worth it. The Bestbuy website claims that R40 Completist set can only be purchased in the stores, not through the website. Exploring a bit further, I found that the Bestbuy website won’t indicate which stores actually have the Completist edition. For more than a few moments, I’d assumed Bestbuy had already sold out of it. And, perhaps playing up on this belief, a number of editions have appeared on Ebay (and other sites) asking for double and some even triple and quadruple what the Bestbuy price is. Sheesh. Uncool, folks.
Again, gritting my teeth, I started to explore the Bestbuys across the Colorado Front Range. I came very close to giving up. The young guys working at the various Colorado Bestbuys had no idea what I was asking for. Rush? Rush Limbaugh. He has concerts? Dear God, no! Even when they looked it up on the website (I assume they’re privy to one the public isn’t), they couldn’t find it. No, sorry, we don’t have that in our “media warehouse.” Will you get it in? I don’t think so.
How could I satisfy that perfectionist/OCD nature that has plagued me since 1967??? Heck, Rush is only seven years younger than I am!
Then, after debating whether or not to try one last Bestbuy, I decided to give it a go. I was tired, disbelieving, and ready to get home. But, there was the Bestbuy, off to my left. I even had to swerve into the exit lane, as I couldn’t quite decide whether to try it or not.
After entering the store, itself overlooking I25, I looked in the music section. Nothing. I looked in movies. Nothing.
Holiday crowds swirled around me, each with that hungry desperate Holiday look, and insanely bad music blared from the store speakers. And, then, perhaps guided by a Clockwork Angel, I looked on the floor—a jumble of non-reshelved releases—ready to be stepped on.
And, lo and behold, there it was. Huge, gleaming, calling to me—the R40 completist set. I scooped it up (there were actually two copies, but I decided not to be greedy), and saw that the price was even cheaper than what the official Bestbuy price was supposed to be. I honestly don’t think these folks know what they have. And, of course, I bought a copy.
And, now, what do I think? Holy Moses. This is great stuff. Yes, of course, I already have most of what’s being offered. But, that which I don’t (or didn’t) have— is simply stunning. I’d expected DVD-size packaging. No, how could I forget? This is Rush. They don’t do anything halfway. The book is actually a full-size hardback book of the highest quality. Printing, paper, everything—a gorgeously crafted piece of art. It even smells good.
After a nice introduction by one of Rush’s chosen and favorite writers, Martin Popoff, the book presents a series of full-page concert photos. After two decades or more of just looking at CD and DVD booklets, the full-size photos just pop out of the book. A flashback to days of immense vinyl collections. I love the photos. And, they really do justice to the the three members of Rush. Geddy at Red Rocks, Alex in full working-man rock mode, and Neil as a G-Nome. Most importantly, the Rush monkey from Time Machine makes an appearance. Geddy-monkey never fails to get a laugh out of the whole Birzer family, especially Harry, age 9. And, our chosen family anthem, appropriately enough, is “The Main Monkey Business.”
After roughly fifty pages of photos, the book presents all 10 main DVDs in very high-quality cardboard. Indeed, the quality is so high, I have to be careful taking the DVDs out of their firm and tight sleeves. Very good for the long run. I was a little surprised that the bonus DVD—“Rush, R40 Completist”—had just been placed in a plain white envelope, stuck haphazardly in the book. I’ll have to pay special attention to this one so as not to lose it. Not very Rush-like, but still, overall, an excellent package and worth this one defect.
Rather than describe all of the content, I’ve scanned the content page—complete with the Completist add-ons. See below.
Is the set cheap? No. Is it of good quality? Except for the Completist DVD in the white envelope, of the highest quality. Am I sad to have paid so much for what I already (mostly) own? Absolutely not. Some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I’ll have this set, a thing of beauty until I die. Then, a little monkey Birzer will get it.