Rush - Time Stand Still
18th November 2016 - Self-release
Starring Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, narrated by Paul Rudd
Synopsis: Chronicling the final tour for legendary rock band Rush. An intimate view of an historic moment from the perspective of the band, their fans, crew, and management. Featuring interviews throughout their sold-out 2015 40th Anniversary tour, it also shows rarely seen backstage footage capturing the final moments of life on the road, as well as the impact of their unparalleled fanbase.
40 years is a long time. For a band to not only stay together that long, but keep the same lineup, and continue putting out quality music and touring, it’s an eternity.
Canadian trio Rush are one of the few to have accomplished that. The grandfathers of progressive metal started all the way back in 1974 and, barring a brief hiatus at the end of the 90s, have been continuously making music, touring, and being generally great people.
But eventually, everyone has to give it up, and so they dropped a bombshell: the band would be retiring. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, of course, but it still was emotional for fans. Being Rush, they had to give their fans one last send-off; one final tour, marking the band’s 40th anniversary. Rush: Time Stand Still is the documentary of that final tour.
It isn’t the first documentary about the band. 2010 saw the release of the fantastic Beyond the Lighted Stage, but where that was a chronicle of the band’s career journey, Time Stand Still is something more emotional and less focused on their history.
The documentary is split into three separate movies. The first, titled “A Salute to Kings” has interviews with other musicians talking about their first time with Rush. Featuring Gene Simmons of Kiss, Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy, Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart, and producer for the last two Rush albums, Nick Raskulinecz, it’s a great little intro to run ahead of the main film, featuring some pretty great comedy from all involved.
Next up is an animated short about drummer Neil Peart’s inspiration for drumming. It’s sincere, sweet, nicely animated, and a neat look at the origin of quite possibly the greatest drummer of all time.
Finally, there’s the main documentary. Time Stand Still.
The documentary is fantastic. It mixes a light-hearted atmosphere with a metric ton of emotion. Beginning with a sort-of chronological look counting down to the tour and then through shows from the tour, leading up to the big final show in Los Angeles, it includes interviews with fans and the band themselves.
There are comedic moments: recalling when new manager Ray Danniels fired Geddy Lee; the first time Rush joined Thin Lizzy in hotel room party and immediately started doing a skit from 50s sitcom Leave it to Beaver; and Alex Lifeson’s alter-ego The Bag. There are emotional moments: clips of shows throughout their journey, and the overwhelming reaction to the band’s long overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Interviews with fans are interspersed throughout as well, including director of fan club RushCon, a fan who has amassed quite possibly the largest Rush collection in the world, a fan who was in a near-fatal accident and was inspired to get back up by a Rush song, and many others. It shows just how many people have been touched by the music and the musicians of Rush.
It’s made very clear that retiring from touring life was a difficult decision for all three members. Geddy especially seems sad to be done touring, but he does appear understanding of the reasons for the retirement. Alex and Neil both state that they’re wanting to stop due to various ailments including arthritis and tendinitis.
Among the anecdotes are Neil’s motorcycling between shows, causing him to come down with a foot fungus on both of his feet, causing him a lot of pain. He continued to play regardless, despite the agony. It’s really a clear portrait of how dedicated he is to playing his best.
The tour includes a legendary stop in their hometown Toronto, catalogued by the R40 live DVD, considered one of the best performances of their career. Reactions to that two-night stint are overwhelmingly positive, as well as the reactions to their stage show.
On recent tours, Rush have taken to making fun of band’s with huge backlines by having laundry machines or chicken rotisseries behind them instead of amps. The documentary shows the inception of the newest idea, and then later on fans’ joyful reactions to it.
Time Stands Still is a brilliant documentation of Rush’s final tour, the journey leading up to it, and the emotions connected to it. There are interviews that bring up things never told before, and it gives an intimate look at the three members of the band and their feelings on retiring from touring. They never come across as forced or scripted like so many legendary musicians might, instead sounding like they are your personal friends just chatting to you. Any fan of the band should purchase the documentary on DVD.
40 fantastic years. And that’s the end of the road for one of the all time greatest bands. “Old friends growing older” indeed.. Goodbye Rush. We’ll miss you.