Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010)
I am not a Rush fan. This is not my thing. Rush fans seem to be ridiculously die hard and will tell you that they’re the best band ever. They’re not. They’re not even close. I wanted to watch this though and try to understand at least a little bit what makes people love them. I wonder if people see a little of themselves in them, they are... achingly normal I’m at a disadvantage in that I don’t think I could name a single song. It’s classic rock and I guess that’s where I struggle. I liked Zeppelin as a kid, I get it, but I much preferred the danger of punk, the atmosphere of new wave. There’s lots of people talking here that I admire though, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, Taylor Hawkins, Kirk Hammett, one of the guys from RATM that’s not Zack or Tom. There’s also Sebastian Back who looks and sounds like a bloated wanker and Gene fucking Simmons. This is thorough though I have to give it that, we start with singer Geddy Lee’s upbringing in Canada, meeting Alex Lifeson at school, buying guitars. They are nice people, kids playing church halls and high schools. Even these early years are caught on camera which is handy. I’m always surprised that these inconsequential at the time events are filmed. These days bloody everything is captured, future documentarians will be spoilt rotten! It’s all terribly well mannered. Even when their first drummer is sacked because of his health, the band mates looking out for him, enter Neil Peart. Now I’m not gonna gush much here, but this lad could bang the drums and as a three piece they do make a big sound. It’s proggy concept stuff and they talk about people not getting it, I know what they mean. Essentially this is a very formulaic chronological run through the history of the band, release by release, stories of record company meetings and touring. All driven by interviews from the band and management, covered with archive photos and book ended with the odd live clip. It does feel like it covers all bases. I’ll give it to them, they can play, really play and I admire that they stuck to their guns, made the music that wanted and experimented with their sound, but dear god as Chapter V declares (yes this has chapters), it’s terminally unhip. This sounds like music for confused prepubescent boys. It’s prog rock for geeks... before geeks were cool. I’m aware that I’m probably reviewing the bands career rather than the documentary itself. Whilst some of the songs sound good musically, fucking hell the lyrics are atrocious, twaddle or dull. It’s a band for chin stroking muso pricks impressed by production dynamics and endless noodling. Songs that go on for sodding hours, indulgent toss. These die hard fans that go to hundreds of shows following them around the planet, will tell you the lyrics are deep, smart and nuanced. Maybe some of them are, this is a 2 hour doc, it’s not going to cover everything, it’s top line stuff, but let’s just say it doesn’t make me want to discover more and I’m guessing the best stuff is included. The more I watch, the more I dislike Rush. They seem like lovely people and I’m happy for them that they found an audience, all power to em. Fuck me though, it’s boooorring.