Inside Rush: Music in Review 1974-1981
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This is the ultimate critical review of the music of Rush on record, on film and on stage. Drawing on rare archive footage much of it unavailable on DVD, and an in depth interview with Alex Lifeson, a leading team of music critics and working musicians revisits and reviews every Rush album from 1974 through to Exit Stage Left. The 48-page book features a track-by-track analysis of every Rush album from the self-titled debut album Rush through to Exit Stage Left, which marked the end of the Mercury era of extended epic anthems.
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There are a lot of misfires on this "documentary". First one the is the video quality. This is not a direct production to video transfer. This is a VCR copy to video transfer by the looks of it. The video is heavily interlaced and makes me feel like I'm watching something somebody recorded from the tv to their VHS. It's not all bad. Your eyes get used to it for a while. Then they tag on some text graphic and you are back to looking at 1979 technology again. Music Reviews LTD produced this crappy looking and sounding video in 2005, but you wouldn't know it by seeing it.
The second misfire are the comments from a short list of musicians, radio DJ's, music producers and journalists. These interviews go from interesting enough to "who cares about your jaded opinion?!?" from people I never heard of. All you get is a name and "occupation". No tags on which bands the musicians play in or what magazines the journalists write for. Nothing. Maybe they are more known in Canadian music circles? Some of the interviewed people give acceptable commentary on whatever album they are talking about along with comments on the public reception. Other people just spout out pretentious drivel and even seem to miss the mark on their analysis of Rush's music. When it all boils down to it there isn't anything in these interviews that hasn't been said before (besides the stuff not worth hearing).
I will give an exception to one guitarist, who shows up mostly on disk two. He give less criticism and more analysis of some of the more notable guitar parts Alex Lifeson plays. I would say those interviews really opened my eyes on the reason why I consider Lifeson one of the best rhythm guitar players out there. Speaking of Alex Lifeson the exclusive interviews the video boasts are merely small badly made audio recordings of Lifeson talking about some aspect of his music. There three total and the longest one runs at about a minute. The rest mostly half that. Not much to crow about. However I do find those interviews, however brief, insightful.
As far as footage is concerned it's a mix of mostly already released footage by either Rush's own video releases or other venues like Don Kirshner's Rock Concert tv series or Pinkpop Festival. There is very little "exclusive" footage, and I am betting even that can found in other places. Combine that with the video quality issues and you have yet another misfire.
The DVD also includes a few photographs that are underwhelming and can be found just about anywhere. There is also a 48 page booklet with comments for each and every song from the albums featured. Again underwhelming. Your best bet is to just rent this. I will admit while I thought the product sucked I didn't feel like I wasted my time on a rental. There is enough here to keep Rush fans occupied, if not impressed.
The bulk of the film is based on comments from interviews mixed alongside clips of the band playing live. The people interviewed include radio djs, musicians and others from the music business. But not anyone I had heard of before. A few had some interesting remarks. But nothing especially revelatory about the band or their music. For those new to Rush this might be a decent intro to the band and what albums to buy first. But hardcore fans will likely be disappointed.