A first listen to the remastered Vapor Trails

There are but two things I go fanboy over — Clive Barker and Rush. And today, something special came in the mail. No it’s not a Geddy Lee autographed “Slappin’ da bass mahn” Rickenbacher bass — it was the newly released remastered version of Rush’s Vapor Trails album. This was something very special. Let me tell you why.

Back in the nineties, Neil Peart (Rush’s drummer and lyricist) lost both his wife (to cancer) and his daughter (to a car accident). It was thought they’d never play music again. After about five years, they finally got back together and recorded Vapor Trails. They filled the recording with their heart and souls…but in the end wound up with an over-produced, poorly mastered album.

I bought that album the day it was released and, quite frankly, it was hard to listen to. For the first time in decades, I had in my hands a Rush album that I just didn’t like. It wasn’t the music or the words, it was the engineering. Gone was the subtlety and perfect blending. In its place were harsh tones, distortion, and a collection of sounds that simply wasn’t…well…Rush.

Some twenty years later, the same album has been given the treatment it should have had at first blush and I am here to tell you, it is a thing of brilliance. What was once a cast off is now possibly one of their finest releases to date.

So, I decided to do something silly. I slapped on my headphones, hit record on my GoPro, and filmed myself listening to Vapor Trails for the first time. Below is the results. NOTE: The accompanying music is selections from the new release, added after I listened — so what you hear in the video isn’t necessarily the same song I was hearing during recording (I didn’t want you to watch four or five minutes of me skipping around tracks…that would be just, well, meh!)