Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage – Film Review
by Roger Crow / @Roger Crow
Imagine a soundtrack to your life, created by a band formed the month you were born. For me Rush is that band, but I wouldn’t have had a clue who they were if it weren’t for the world’s biggest fan: my brother.
In his early teens he decided to paint an enormous copy of their eponymous 1974 album cover across his bedroom wall; queued up on day one to get the first edition of their 1981 album Moving Pictures, (yes kids, that used to happen before downloads), and spent most of his cash on buying every item of Rush ephemera he could.
It was inevitable that some of their magic would rub off on me, because at one stage Rush was as much a part of my life as breathing. Considering how much Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart played a part in my formative years, I may as well have shares in their back catalogue.
Their sound blasted through my bedroom wall so often it was as much audio wallpaper to the early Eighties as Adam Ant and New Order.
“Need for perfection”
While thumbing through Netflix one night I find Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, a 2010 documentary film which on the surface looks pretty forgettable. What I don’t expect is that it soon becomes one of those instant classics, and no, you don’t need to be a fan of the band to enjoy it.
Charting their inevitable rise to fame, it boasts some impressive archive footage of the young band members on their road to stardom, and talking heads including Jack Black, Trent Reznor and Gene Simmons from Kiss.
While Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson are hugely entertaining, it’s Neil Peart’s journey which proves most moving. The loss of his daughter and then his wife led to one of those inevitable moments where the band’s future looked in jeopardy. Without Neil, the others didn’t want to carry on, so they waited while he embarked on a 55,000 mile road trip on his motorbike.
Peart is one of those characters who is so driven by his need for perfection, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to see him working at NASA. And the fact he’s easily one of the best drummers in the business is an added bonus. Okay, some of Rush’s music may dip a toe in the pretentious pool at times, but it’s the guys at the heart of the fame who prove more compelling than their iconic albums such as 2112.
If you love great rock documentaries, then this is a must.