RushRush. Just let the imagery and emotion fill your brain as you see the band's name on this page. Tight playing, screeching vocals, D&D fanboy lyrics, Canadiana goofiness, Tom Sawyer, musicianship, and sweet Jesus – Neil Peart's drumming!

There has been little in the way of documenting one of Canada's most popular and strange exports (beyond audio, of course). With a wide release set for summer, Hot Docs fans will get a chance at a sneak peek of 'Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage' on the opening night of the festival.

Filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn have made a name for themselves in rock documentaries over the last 5 years. While a touch on the kitschy side, 'Metal: A Headbanger's Journey' was filmed with skill, humour and depth to laud the enduring qualities of really loud music. Follow-ups have included 'Global Metal' and a tour-doc on Iron Maiden. With Rush, McFadyen and Dunnhave wisely left themselves out of the film, cutting together a slick, funny and star-riddled piece. RushRush. Just let the imagery and emotion fill your brain as you see the band's name on this page. Tight playing, screeching vocals, D&D fanboy lyrics, Canadiana goofiness, Tom Sawyer, musicianship, and sweet Jesus – Neil Peart's drumming!

There has been little in the way of documenting one of Canada's most popular and strange exports (beyond audio, of course). With a wide release set for summer, Hot Docs fans will get a chance at a sneak peek of 'Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage' on the opening night of the festival.

Filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn have made a name for themselves in rock documentaries over the last 5 years. While a touch on the kitschy side, 'Metal: A Headbanger's Journey' was filmed with skill, humour and depth to laud the enduring qualities of really loud music. Follow-ups have included 'Global Metal' and a tour-doc on Iron Maiden. With Rush, McFadyen and Dunnhave wisely left themselves out of the film, cutting together a slick, funny and star-riddled piece.

Bass player Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson open the story reliving their younger days in the Toronto area. Both dropped out of high school to follow their musical dreams, got lucky enough to play nightclubs when Canada's drinking age was 18, and found some early radio-play in Cleveland with their self-titled debut album. Neil Peart, the son of a farm equipment dealer who could play a mean set of skins, joined the band in the early '70s, just in time to be a part of a massive tour that included opening for glam-rockers Kiss.

The doc slides from album to album, following the growing cohesion of the band with records such as 'Moving Pictures' and 'Spirit of Radio.' An upsetting break occurs in the mid-nineties when Peart's wife and daughter both die in unrelated circumstances. What looked like the end for the band provides real drama in the film, offering some truly heartfelt and sobering moments.



Scores of musicians and celebrities weigh in on the trio, including Gene Simmons, Jack Black, Billy Corgan and Les Claypool. Concept albums like 2112 and Hemispheres come up in conversation, as members of Pantera, Metallica and Tool note the terrific hardship they went through to learn the compositions themselves, all while giggling at the rock nerd-dom that surrounded the act.

Like so many rock-docs, this one could have used more music. But fans can get their fix this summer as Rush embark on their Time Machine Tour. After 40 years together the band continues to sell out arenas and amphitheatres and command audiences everywhere.

'Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage' gives credence to this, but in its essence it's just plain fun to watch.

'RUSH: Beyond the Lighted Stage' screens Thursday, April 29 at 9:30 p.m. at the Winter Garden Theatre, and then screens again Friday, April 30 at 4:00 p.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

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