Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage – A Review

June 18, 2010

(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/


Busy Times on a Panoramic Planet

May 30, 2010

It’s been busy times these last couple of weeks. The project that holds most of my attention at the moment is the RushCon Photo Archive. A collection of images from RushCons past, it will be the central ‘herding point’ for any RushCon related photo I can find. So far, I’ve added a bunch of others people’s images (with permission, of course!) as well as selecting and editing some of my own. Not an easy task at the best of times.

Between the RushCon photo project and choosing images for my own website, I’m finding I’m developing a more critical eye when it comes to my photography. No doubt, my recent Photography studies have helped. Cultivating a form of ruthlessness is also an essential component. There are photos that I may have included on the old (now defunct) version of the site, but they are now being filed to the Trash bin. Some are not quite ‘good enough’ but I’m putting them aside for the moment. I may eventually post some of them here.

In closing, I came across the Photoble website this morning and found an interesting tutorial on creating mini panorama planets. As landscapes are one of my favorite forms of photography, I do have a few panoramas hidden in my collection. Some are quite good, others…well, I was still learning at the time!

Here’s my first panoramic planet attempt:

This was a series of shots of the Ottawa River, as seen from Gatineau, QC, that I took back in the summer of 2005. Probably not the greatest example of a panoramic, due to fluctuating lighting levels, but it’s a start. I’m going to play with this idea a little more and see what else I can produce! 🙂