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Band documentaries - especially those that come as bonus discs with CD releases - can often be incredibly tedious to watch, accompanied by poor quality filming and endless “look at us leading the rock-n-roll lifestyle” / “look at me showing off on my instrument”, making you wonder why on earth you even bothered to waste time watching it in the first place. However the new Rush documentary DVD is far from this. Miles apart really. The work of the same filmmakers (Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn) that brought us the fantastic “Iron Maiden: Flight 666”, and winning the Heineken Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York for this documentary, this is an extremely well-put-together, sincere, honest and often amusing exploration of one of rock’s more understated and humble bands, spanning their entire forty-year career, delving into areas right from their childhood in Canada and their modest beginnings supporting the likes of Uriah Heep, Kiss and U.F.O. to their present day world-famous status. One particular aspect that makes this DVD stand out from other band documentaries, aside from the extremely professional way in which it has been produced and edited, is the perfect mix of vintage and more recent live footage, photographs (often just left as a bonus feature on other DVDs) and interviews with Geddy, Alex and Neil, their family members and others who have played a part in the band’s history, and makes for an immensely enthralling watch. With the mainstream media in the past often fairly critical of the band, whether it be labelling them as “unhip” or criticising the vocal style of frontman and bassist Geddy Lee, this documentary also provides a fascinating insight into the solid “cult” fanbase that Rush have, which have led the band to have the status they have today, with interviewed fans recalling how and why Rush’s music appealed to and affected them. The bonus disc that comes with this DVD elaborates on this almost cult-like status further, showing footage of the ‘Rush trekkies’ at fan conventions partaking in ‘Rush karaoke’ and ‘Rush Guitar Hero’. Interspersed throughout the film are short interviews with a whole range of other famous musicians including Billy Corgan, Kirk Hammett, Les Claypool, Vinnie Paul and Sebastian Bach, all of whom cite Rush as being a major influence on their musicianship, and recalling with great fondness how they used to spend days learning Rush drum / bass / guitar lines by heart as kids. With Hammett calling them the “high priests of conceptual metal” in one interview on the DVD, and listening to the various tracks featured within this DVD, every now and again, you think “that’s so similar in style to Atheist” or Tool or other bands that you’re more au fait with, you suddenly realise that Rush really have played a huge and understated part in influencing the song-writing of so many bands. For the newbie Rush fan or the long-term Rush fan, this DVD is a must for both and as the tag-line rightly states: “The band you know. The story you don’t”, as Rush are perhaps one of rock’s more “private” bands, especially drummer Neil Peart whom this documentary gives an interesting insight into and his reasons behind not wanting to live his life offstage in the public eye. The bonus discs elaborates further on the main documentary, showing elongated versions of interviews and live footage as shown on the main disc, but is equally as enthralling and includes a longer cut of ‘Dinner with Rush’, an amusing piece of footage displaying what one might class as ‘typical Canadian zany humour’ (a la Devin Townsend), where copious amount of wine is drunk, they have fun with fridge magnets and you find out why Liefson feels “lost with a tuba” – a side-career as a stand up comedian for this guy would be a walk in the park! I cannot recommend this highly enough, whatever style of music you’re into; you’ll reach the end of the film a little more intrigued and eager to hear more.
Universal Music
Review by Hannah Sylvester
Main Film: 1:46:49
28th June 2010
DISC 1: The Film; DISC 2: Special Features
1) Being Bullied and the Search for the First Gig
2) Reflections of Hemispheres
3) Presto and Roll the Bones Rap; 4) The Rush Fashion
5) Hobbies on the Road; 6) Rush Trekkies
7) Pre-Gig Warm Up; 8) Best I Can (Live)
9) Working Man (Live); 10) La Villa Strangiato (Live)
11) Between the Sun and the Moon (Live)
12) Dinner with Rush at a Hunting Lodge
13) Far Cry (Live); 14) Entre Nous (Live)
15) Bravado (Live); 16) YYZ (Live)
"...whatever style of music you’re into...you’ll reach the end of the film a little more intrigued and eager to hear more."