In 2019 we lost Neil Peart, one of the greatest drummers of all time, and part of one of my favorite bands – Rush. So, when Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage came up on my Netflix recommendations, I figured it was time to check it out.
Beyond the Lighted Stage covers pretty much all of Rush’s career, from their formation of the suburbs of Toronto all the way to the Snakes & Arrows tour (where they were the first rock concert I ever went to). It is an interesting story, and also one that is radically different from your usual Rock Band story. A lot of this is exemplified by a story from early in the band’s career, when they were touring with Kiss and opening for them (something they did for a very long time). Kiss would regularly go out and party after the show – Rush wouldn’t to the bafflement of the members of Kiss, who were so soaked in their toxic masculinity that they thought that maybe the members of Rush were gay.
So, no stories about groupies, no near ODs, no trashed hotel rooms. This instead is a story that is much more about the evolution of the band’s style and sound. This could have been boring, but it works because this is probably one of the very few rock acts that have undergone a greater number of stylistic shifts than maybe even David Bowie – only without Bowie’s problems with drugs. This gives the documentary a stylistic focus that you normally only see in “Unauthorized Critical Biography” DVDs, only this one is authorized, has access to the band, and permission to use their music.
The only place where it gets particularly personal is the death of Neil Peart’s wife and daughter, and Peart’s road trips across North & South America basically as he was grieving, which also lead to the band going on hiatus. The material in the documentary is no substitute for Neil’s book (affiliate link), but it’s a good overview.
Is this the Rush documentary fans have been looking for? Yes. Put a companion book with this, and you have the perfect accompaniment for the Band’s discography.
If you enjoyed this blog post and would like to help to support the site, please consider backing my Patreon. Patreon backers get to access my reviews and Let’s Plays up to a week in advance.
If you want to support the site, but can’t afford to pledge monthly, please consider tossing a few bucks into my Ko-Fi instead.