Rush – Time Stands Still (2016)

Cast: Geddy Lee – bass, vocals; Alex Lifeson – guitar; Neil Peart – drums; incl. interviews with Brian Hiatt, Liam Burt, Ray Daniels, John Virant and others.
Studio: Rounder/Ole and Zoe Vision ZOE0114300002
Director: Dale Heslip
Narrator: Paul Rudd
Video: 16:9, color, black &white
Audio: PCM Stereo 2.0, DTS 5.1
Length: 97 minutes
Ratings:     Audio: ****     Video: ***1/2      Overall: ****

No band in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame has created more controversy with its selection than Rush. A lot of rock fans love them, a lot of rock fans do not! The Canadian blues/rock turned science fiction progressive band have been recording for over forty years. Geddy Lee (bass, vocals; Alex Lifeson (guitar) and drummer Neil Peart (who represents the only lineup change in their history) are revered by their fans for their unusual album compositions and arrangements. As recently as 2012, they released Clockwork Angels and toured the world in support. Considering their self-titled debut was in 1974, the long-term appeal of Rush is undeniable. Initially, the group were established as another psychedelic blues outfit, influenced by Black Sabbath, Cream and Led Zeppelin. They morphed into progressive rock (once described as science fiction rock) mode in the fashion of Genesis and Jethro Tull. Eventually they would return to straight-ahead rock.

Ole and Zoe Vision have released a documentary on the Canadian band, titled Rush – Time Stand Still. Narrated by actor Paul Rudd, the film examines in detail the forty year history of this phenomenon. The story is framed by the final 2015 tour and the band’s memories. This is a valentine to the trio, and does not attempt to delve into controversy or salaciousness. There are vintage and current performance snippets, including some clever editing that combines them into a song. Rush have been under-appreciated as musicians. Geddy Lee has a powerful, “metal” tenor that has stood the test of time. Alex Lifeson is a talented, complex guitarist. But drummer Neil Part is nothing short of ferocious and is very impressive. Rush is ending their virtually non-stop 40-year run due to aging and physical ailments (especially Peart). They are still putting on three-hour shows and plan to go out in style.

There are the customary reminiscences about the early days and the primitive logistics involved with touring. At the core of Rush’s sustained career are the fans. They have a self-proclaimed “nerdiness” and laid-back fervor. The fan club, known as Rushcon have seen the band dozens of times. There is a countdown to the final concert at the L.A. Forum and the musicians, crew and fans are looking forward to it. The band in particular is confident, but relatively humble about their lofty stature. Again, the overall effect of this film is a nostalgic glimpse into the Rush world. The low-key flow seems to symbolize the under-the-radar legacy of the greatest band to emerge from Canada.

The video footage of this film is simple and without gimmickry (with the exception of the previously edited past/present performances). The audio quality is good, and the DTS 5.1 mix packs a punch at increased volumes. Rush – Time Stand Still will most likely resonate more significantly with serious Rush fans.

—Robbie Gerson