(Note: If you have not had a chance to see the documentary yet, this review may contain spoilers!)
I made my way down to Cinemark Tinseltown in Vancouver at about 6.30pm, for the 7pm showing. Got my ticket and looked around for the RushCon/Rush promo table. Try as I might, I couldn’t find it anywhere, but a few people did have RushCon fliers in hand. 🙂
Speaking of RushCon, I bucked the trend of Rush t-shirts somewhat, preferring to don my “Rush fans do it in odd time signatures” t-shirt from RushCon 7. The shirt drew the curiosity of a few people, so I had the chance to tell them about the convention.
I wound up sitting next to a couple, T & J. He was a hardcore Rush fan, she not so much, but she definitely appreciated their musicianship. We had some really good conversation AND they’ll be going to RC in Vegas. Yay!
The lights went down and the screen lit up. What followed was two hours of solid Rush-y goodness and one of the best music documentaries I have ever seen.
Some of the highlights:
- Seeing home movies and photos of the boys in their childhood & teen years.
- The old photos, videos and audio recordings of early Rush performances. (Underwear party, anyone? ;))
- Hearing the voice of John Rutsey for the first time.
- Watching a young Alex arguing with his parents about his music career. Whilst their concerns about his education were certainly valid, one can only hazard a guess of what might have been if he hadn’t had the guts to follow his dream.
- Amusement at hearing Alex’s & Geddy’s first impressions of Neil (although I think Neil is now well & truly beyond the ‘new guy’ stage).
- The beautiful way that the Ghost Rider period was handled.
- Various talking heads (Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor, Gene Simmons and others expressing their admiration of Rush).
- Seeing a couple of fellow RushCon peeps on the screen, including Christopher Schneberger (Rush roadtrip buddy of 2008)
The only two downsides were Jack Black’s interview and the scant attention paid to the 80’s/90’s period of Rush.
Whilst I have no doubt that Jack Black is a fan, his contributions came off as superfluous, almost nonsensical rambling. I’m also puzzled as to why very little attention was paid to the time between Signals and Vapor Trails. Why skip over almost two decades of the band’s history? If anything, it would have served to dispel the common (and ignorant) image of Rush as “a 70s band who wore kimonos and sang about elves.” Maybe more will be present in the DVD extras?
Overall, it’s a very well made documentary – many kudos to Sam Dunn & Scot McFadyen.
Returning to Tinseltown Vancouver…
Throughout the movie, I listened to fellow patrons laughing in recognition at certain points during the interviews and upon seeing the old photos (complete with kitschy outfits and…interesting fashion sense). Whilst it wasn’t the same level of immediate connection and friendship as can often be found at RushCon, there was still a pervasive feeling of being in a room with people who ‘ged’ it. Those are rare and precious moments, even in the current resurgence of Rush’s popularity.
On the surface, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage gave me a little more insight into the history of the band and filled in more of the gaps. (The joys of being a younger, late-into-the-fold fan). Ultimately, it served to remind me why I love the music of Rush.
For more information on the documentary: http://www.rushbeyondthelightedstage.com/
For more information about RushCon: http://www.rushcon.org/