Fireworks

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Rush - 'Beyond The Lighted Stage' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/14/21/59/539_rushbeyondthelightedstage_1284408885.jpg Hot

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Interesting and brilliantly put together documentary.

It’s perhaps indicative of the humility shared by the three members of “the world’s biggest cult band” that they were unsure of how interesting a documentary of their forty year career would actually be. However, film makers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn persevered and were eventually given unlimited access to the band and the Anthem Records video vaults to tell a remarkable story that makes up for an almost complete lack of tabloid scandal and band in-fighting with a story based on hard work, musical growth and a kind of deep friendship that’s unheard of in the volatile world of rock and roll. With narrative from Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and band manager Ray Danniels, it’s a chronological journey that starts with Lifeson and Lee meeting at junior school and ends with a highly amusing band meeting over dinner that proves that these rock intellectuals can be just as goofy and silly as the rest of us.

The two disc set features the documentary on the first one with some interesting contributions from high-profile Rush fans like Jack Black, Sebastian Bach, Kirk Hammett and Trent Reznor, with the most surprising and interesting comments coming from superfan (who knew?) Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, while the film clips include lots of interesting stuff about original drummer John Rutsey, live video clips from all eras (some previously unseen) and interviews with most of the producers they’ve worked with. Neil Peart’s double tragedy of losing his daughter and wife within ten months of each other is handled beautifully, mostly by Lee, Lifeson and Danniels, and despite a few disagreements on the direction of certain albums this is a band who seem to have been singing from the same hymn sheet pretty much since Neil Peart joined in 1974. The only slightly disappointing thing is that a couple of albums are almost completely skipped in the story but there’s plenty on pivotal records like ‘2112’, ‘Hemispheres’ and ‘Moving Pictures’. Gene Simmons just about sums it up when he says “Who sounds like Rush? Nobody!”

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The second disc is really interesting too and as well as amusing bits where Lee and Lifeson try (and fail!) to find the location of the first ever Rush gig, all three talk about their hobbies and their appalling fashion faux pas, and there’s a longer version of the band meeting that runs at the end credits of the documentary, with everyone really drunk and it’s absolutely hilarious. Probably the most interesting live clips are of the band from a 1974 TV show performing ‘Best I Can’ and ‘Working Man’ with John Rutsey on drums, and ‘La Villa Strangiato’ from the Pink Pop festival in Holland in 1979. If you’re a fan then there’s plenty here to get your teeth into, and if you’re not – and I’m not just saying this because they’re my favourite band - then it’s still an interesting and brilliantly put together documentary that shows a band who’ve stayed great friends and really put the work in to get where they are today. Totally brilliant!

Phil Ashcroft

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