Rush. The Canadian wonder has long deserved a substantial media exploration if for no other reason the rabid fans that have long been associated with the band will chew on any crumb of information or insight that the trio might offer. For the novice or non-fan, Beyond the Lighted Stage is a worthwhile endeavor to aid in understanding just exactly what makes Rush tick beyond all reason and against all odds.
Scott McFadyen and Sam Dunn, the filmmakers behind Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and the Iron Maiden concert movie Iron Maiden: Flight 666 lend their creative eye and straightforward approach to telling Rush's story which is as much about their bond and friendship as it is about their progressive rise to success despite early criticism, difficult band personalities and a nonconformist approach to being a rock band.
The band's tightness and mutual respect for each other is shown through archival footage and coverage of them off stage--you see the unit that is RUSH and insight into each individual member, and whether fan or detractor, it is clear why Geddy, Alex and Neil work as friends and as musicians.
McFayden and Dunn also give the non-Rush fan reasons--reasons why the band got together, reasons why they stayed when the mainstream press boo'd them off of the pages of the trades, reasons why they struck a chord with an unique and loyal fan base and why they continue 30+ years later. The best motivation to get this DVD, instead of pandering and glorifying the band, McFayden and Dunn cover the icky bits as well: Lee's most unusual vocal style, Peart's notorious attitude towards their fans, early changes to the band's lineup and even a self depreciating segment on their self proclaimed lack of style.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of the documentary, are the interviews with the "other fan base" Rush attracts, fellow musicians who site them as major influences--Billy Corgan, Gene Simmons, Trent Reznor, Zakk Wylde, Sebastian Bach and Tim Commerford round out a diverse group of well respected performers who joined the Rush club early and have never left.
Whether you have a vast collection of ticket stubs in a Rush scrapbook or not, "Beyond the Lighted Stage", is a worthy tribute to a band and a fitting premise that love them or hate them, you are compelled to respect them.
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