Prog legends Rush finally given credit in brilliant Rockumentary.
"Beyond the Lighted Stage", a fantastic tour de force of Canada's finest power trio, is irresistible. The band take us on a journey from their early roots to the high impact tours of the 80s, right through to present day live shows. The live performances are only sporadically sprinkled in the movie as it is more concerned with the band's opinions and their influences on rock artisits, many of which are interviewed with gushing praise over the trio. We hear how Peart struggled with personal loss, and how Geddy and Alex met and how their friendship escalated into an unbreakable bond that has never been broken. The early years are of particular interest as the band seem to be emotionally overcome revisiting their past. The film takes the viewer through the memories and it is a powerfully moving experience. There is brutal honesty that draws the viewer in and provides a true picture of the rock scene with all its glory and power, and the inevitable disappointments and betrayals that occur from those that exploit the product, not in favour of the band's interests. The fiery razor editing is exceptional, it really is a polished production, from the general music choices to the exceptional juxtaposition of visual and commentary.
There are some real gems of information here and there that even the most stalwart Rush addict may not have known. It is great to hear the personal life stories and the best parts of tours are featured, with loads of adoring fan footage, as is the norm in these rockumentaries. We hear from fans, families, roadies and producers - little people to the giants of rock all give an opinion on how important the band has become over the years. There are comments from Jack Black, always a scream, and metal icons such as Alice Cooper, Kirk Hammett, Mike Portnoy and Gene Simmons who have their own take on how influential the band is for them. The quintessential Rush albums are mentioned chronologically and certain songs and gigs that empowered the band to super stardom. Time does not allow every album to be mentioned in detail but at least it whets the appetite for newcomers to the band, God bless their souls, and it is a potent reminder for those who have grown up with their powerhouse prog rock since the 70s.
The special features include a plethora of concert footage, rare takes and a lot of fun goodies to revel in such as pre gig warmups, Rush Trekkies and dinner with Rush at a Hunting Lodge, fly on the wall style. There are extended sections of interviews unseen in the movie and some various humorous anecdotes as can be expected from Rush. The menus look very special and the overall packaging is glorious. Look no further if you want to explore the enigmatic Rush machine.