Rush – Beyond the Lighted Stage; A Review

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart play themselves; according to the credits of this documentary. That’s a good start for Rush enthusiasts …

The film opens with Neil Peart playing a small drum kit backstage. It is hard to imagine Peart playing a small drum kit anywhere. Known more for his mutlti – piece kit. Yet Rush started somewhere and as the three members of the band merge from their modern day selves to a flashback of their former selves – this is where the film begins.

In the past.

Lee and Lifeson, it turns out, were nerdy schoolmates. Geeky guys who loved music and thrust their part – time music at unsuspecting teenagers at school dances. Teens that expected to dance. Teens who were too afraid to approach the stage and the long haired freaks.

As the early band footage rolls on, one thing stands out. The singular reason why some people are put off of Rush. Geddy Lee’s voice…

The same voice that repels small animals to this day.

The film brings people back in time to a simpler era. If a forty – something music fan watches the documentary; just like that they are transported to high school. A place where divisions ruled. ‘Subdivisions’…

Every teenager from every generation witnessed the same thing. There were the jocks, the nerds, the cool people and the ‘weirdos’. Somewhere in that mix? Rush fans. People that were a mixture of what society had to offer. Testosterone – challenged, hormone – changing adolescents trying to find their ‘lockers’ in the hallways of the world.

Lee and Lifeson were those guys. Drummer Peart analyzed it all and the trio went about their ways doing things their way. This is the singular important message that shines through in the film.

Smaller crowds and pressure from record executives tried to alter their music in the seventies. Under contract for one more album; the Canadian trio decided to record it status quo – in other words, like the last album; Caress of Steel.

2112 shot the band on the road to superstardom and the band and documentary never looked back.

Unknown Commodoties

The movie struts along like a music fan through a long corridor. Each Rush album hung on the wall Is observed, commented on and passed by. A soundtrack of the songs playing in the background – some live, some studio. All reminders of just how good the band was and continues to be.

One by one – songs like ‘Fly by Night’, ‘The Trees’, ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Subdivisions’ smack the observer with memories. Unlike the albums themselves, discs such as ‘Hemispheres’, ‘ Moving Pictures’ and ‘Vapor Trails’ are accompanied by tales from the creators of the songs themselves. Stories which place the band and it’s members ‘closer to your heart’.

The average person unaware of how Mr. Lee and Mr. Lifeson thought Peart was weird when he auditioned for the band. The average ‘Hey Joe’ rock fan oblivious to the fact Rush was the opening act for a group named Kiss. Gene Simmons et al living the sex, drugs and rock roll lifestyle while Lee and his mates remained watching t.v in their rooms.

Rush is behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones with the number of gold and platinum albums. This places them ahead of everyone else. Therein lies the mystery of Rush. Nobody knows who they are or what they are about. This documentary attempts to divulge that information. This film does not.

Lee, Lifeson and Peart come across as three Canadian guys with Canadian humbleness and Canadian humor. The film dishes no dirt, no scandals and no sordid tales. They are three guys who won the lottery and are comfortable around each other’s shoes.

Ironically, it’s the death of Peart’s daughter and wife that almost ended the band. It is what brought the members closer than ever and put them back on track. It is also the turning point for any fan watching the film.

If a music fan was on the fence, the direction which they landed when they fell is facing the fact Rush are one of the Greatest rock bands ever.

As themselves …