Book Review: Rush – The Missing Tourbooks Collection

Rush Missing Tourbooks Collection

With Rush officially done and Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson seemingly uninterested or at least hesitant to move forward together after the death of Neil Peart, little remains as far as tantalizing fans with music-haves and other Rush memorabilia.

Unlike most bands, and if you take what Rush has said repeatedly, unreleased Rush music does not exist. Songs that did not make a said album were scrapped, not vaulted or “missing” only to be found later, so fortunately or unfortunately we will not get the standard every few years marketing campaign of lost Rush music found.

Instead, the heads of state must get creative and find new and intriguing keepsakes for the Rush fan.

Enter the Rush Tourbook.

The tourbook nearly equals the tour shirt when deciding the required merch items that go home with you. I bought every Rush tourbook for every tour attended, ended up with a few for those I was unable to attend and even bought the Rush Tourbook book of tourbooks featuring every tourbook from 1977 to 2004 inside a hardback bound coffee table style book.

Rush’s first three albums, though toured, did not get the tourbook treatment.

Until now.

The traditional Rush tourbook generally features a length essay written by Peart welcoming the fan to the tour. Of course, many photos displayed throughout, and a dedicated page each for Lee, Lifeson and Peart to discuss their equipment brought on that tour.

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Rush Missing Tourbooks Collection Review

The Rush Missing Tourbooks Collection brings to life a tourbook for the debut eponymous album, Fly By Night and Caress of Steel. The Rush Backstage Club priced the full collection at $79.99 – above the free shipping threshold  –  which includes a bonus Fly By Night litho of the tourbook cover. Or buy them individually. The Club mails the Missing Tourbooks Collection and the litho in a plastic bag, cushioned by two cardboard sleeves inside a rather large but flat cardboard mailing box that measures 26.5-inches by 26.5-inches.

The quality most definitely unmistakable.

RUSH Tourbook Review

Rush debut tour Tourbook

The RUSH Tourbook for the band’s debut album reflects all the 12-inch by 12-inch size of all the other tourbooks fans have in their bookshelves. The striking high-gloss quality stands out with the cover displaying the album logo, almost 3D like, along with “1974 Tour.” This tourbook is much slimmer page-wise than those produced during the arena headlining years.

Equipment List for Alex Lifeson on Rush’s first tour

The RUSH Tourbook does not feature John Rutsey, Rush’s original drummer, in any photos instead the production sticks with Peart.  An opening essay greets you, this written by Raymond Michael of Courier Express and dated August 29, 1974 and politely acknowledges Rutsey who got behind the kit in 1968 and replaced in July of 1974. The equipment list, as you’d expect, comes in far shorter than the heyday years and while some photos have significant pixilation others look like they were taken yesterday. The last page shows all the dates and locations of the North American Tour extending from mid-March to three days before Christmas.

It fits in nicely on the shelf with the rest of the Rush tourbooks.

Length: 16 pages

Rush Fly By Night Tourbook Review

Rush Fly By Night Tourbook

The Fly By Night tourbook flies in-your-face with the stare of the iconic owl taking up much of the 17-inch by 12-inch cover. Constructed entirely in a matte finish, the Fly By Night tourbook opens to a bill for the June 25, 1975 Massey Hall concert in Toronto exhibiting Lee, Lifeson and Peart more like members of KISS. Flip a page and an opening essay again written by Raymond Michael of the Courier Express, now Assistant (to the) Editor dated February 10, 1975.

Rush at Massey Hall poster featured in Fly By Night tourbook
Rush looking more like KISS

The photos throughout show a bit better than the previous tourbook with some pixilated but most solid representations of the band and many you’ve probably seen before. The middle features a fuzzier Fly By Night owl spread across two pages.

Equipment list for Geddy Lee on the Fly By Night Tour

The inside of the rear cover page posts the tour dates extending from early January to the end of June. What caught my eye was the rigors of touring in those days. For example, over six days Rush traveled from Yakima, WA to Medford, OR, more than seven hours south, then five hours north to Portland, on to Seattle, three hours away, back to Portland, then more than five hours to Spokane, WA. Whew.

Tour dates for Rush Fly By Night tour
The Fly By Night tour dates

I appreciate the look and feel but the size totally ruins the Rush tourbook landscape I’ve got going. It. Doesn’t. Fit! Not even close. So what to do? I don’t know. This sounds like nit-picking but, seriously, the lengthy height prevents displaying it anywhere on a bookshelf other than sitting it flat.

Length: 16 pages

Rush Caress of Steel Tourbook Review

Rush Caress of Steel Tourbook

The Caress of Steel tourbook offers an awesome front and back covers. It looks rich and feels rich. This high-gloss 4-inch by 11-inch tourbook shines and shimmers with reflections of gold and opens to a frame-able bill of the Caress of Steel old man character from the album. Again, Raymond Michael, now managing editor, submits the opening essay this one dated September 20, 1975 also featured on page 3 like Fly By Night.

The touring equipment presents a bit more prominently, the list growing but still far short of the ensuing years. No funny quips by Lifeson, as he’s want to do, or any further explanation by Peart and Lee. The photos crisp only dated by the band members’ wardrobe.

Equipment list for Neil Peart on the Caress of Steel Tour

The Caress of Steel tour dates appear on the final page these stretching from the last week of August 1975 to the first week of January 1976.

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The Caress of Steel tourbook extends two inches longer than the rest of the Rush tourbooks requiring minor shelving rearrangement, a far easier placement task than the Fly By Night behemoth, but still brings into question why the powers that be didn’t stick with the traditional record size tour book the band embraced a few short years later.

Photo collage of Rush featured inside the Caress of Steel Tourbook

Length: 16 pages

Overall, the Rush Missing Tourbooks Collection keeps the spark alive albeit for a moment. The photos offer a fun insight into the early 70s, the tour dates show just how much Rush hit the road back in the day and perhaps a little lost nostalgia for those not old enough to attend.

In terms of a collectors item, the Rush Missing Tourbooks Collection should have been a limited edition and even numbered. Outside this opportunity to review, I’m not sure I would have spent the money.

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