Rush is amazing, and will always be amazing, and how they built their fan base was less around the media and hype and more around traveling. They were there on busses and vans, going through road after road, and showing up for the fans. No matter how tired, or sick, they always came to show fans what they were made of. This is what kind of made Rush feel less like a band, and more like visiting relatives that we loved to be with time and time again. What makes “Time Stand Still” such a bittersweet documentary, however, is that it chronicles the rise of Rush, and their beyond loyal fan base, but it also packs in the daunting realization that they can’t do this forever.
Time inevitably takes its toll, and when we meet them they are at a crossroads in their lives. They want to perform and rejoin one another on tour, but they also have realized that they’re just not the same people they were years ago. Most heartbreaking is Neal Peart, who admits that he isn’t as good as he used to be, and it’s becoming tougher to perform the older the he becomes. There are likely a million Rush fans that will argue he isn’t the same man he used to be, but Peart is still a marvel on the drums, and is much too tough on himself during interviews. “Time Stand Still” acts as a love letter, but it’s also a look at the real men and what they’ve done in their off time. Mostly we’re given re-assurance that much of their retirement is going to be pleasant once they finally decide to give touring a rest once and for all.
Peart’s story is perhaps the most compelling and fascinating, as he’s a man who loves riding his motorcycle as much as drumming, and he does even at the risk of his own health. Mid-way through there’s discussion of Peart riding so much that he didn’t care for his feet, eventually building a fungus that almost caused him to lose his feet. In immense pain, he drummed on tour for days on end, and really holds no regret, in the end. “Time Stand Still” takes some side interviews with hardcore fans, a lot of whom are very engaging individuals that approach Rush with such touching emotion. One man has a room devoted to recording and chronicling everything Rush, from their articles, ads, VHS tapes, and even keeps an old 8 track that he stole from his sister. Another woman found a means of overcoming her social anxiety by launching a convention for Rush fans.
Despite the sad acknowledgement of mortality and that our rock gods aren’t going to be here forever, “Time Stand Still” is a beautiful tribute to Rush, their lasting legacy of fans, and their connection to their fan base that keeps fans coming back for over a hundred concerts and counting.