DVD Review: Rush - Beyond The Lighted Stage
For a band that’s been filling arenas for thirty years, a proper Rush documentary has been a long time coming. Blame it on the band’s supposed lack of “general appeal”. Adored by intellectual heshers and aspiring shredmeisters, reviled by professional journalists and ignored by the rock mainstream, you have to admit: they did it their way. Somehow, three brainy, unprepossessing, somewhat geeky Canadians with an intact sense of humor managed to become, as bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee puts it, “the most popular cult band in the world.” Even a non-fan like my friend Richard, who claims never to have heard one of their songs in its entirety, was still able to look at the cover of this DVD and say, “That guy has a really high voice, that guy uses a lot of chorus on his guitar and that guy’s a really good drummer.” They don’t lack mainstream awareness, just mainstream appreciation. But Beyond The Lighted Stage puts them into a context where hopefully even those left cold by 15/8 time signatures can appreciate them as artists, unconventional, unwavering in their conviction.
Director Sam Dunn has proven himself to be a talented chronicler of the dark arts in his previous film Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, treating that primordial urge for rock and roll satisfaction as a serious topic worthy of investigation. It proves to be a perfect approach to these high-concept chophounds. Dunn can be incredibly detail-oriented on an area of particular interest, but is also able to skim quickly through the band’s less important chapters in the interest of keeping the onscreen action - mostly consisting of dudes blabbing about rock music - compelling and forward-moving.