Rush fanatics gathered across the nation Wednesday night to break their fast on honeydew and drink the milk of paradise while participating in what Rush calls “an annual exercise in fan indulgence.” Cinema Strangiato, which aired exclusively in theaters for one night only, features Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart, along with some special guests, providing banter and behind-the-scenes footage in addition to concert footage from their R40 Tour performance in Toronto.
Opening with a short documentary-style film about Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass entitled “Falling Down the Rabbit Hole,” viewers got a peak into the exuberant bass collection that inspired the Rush singer and bass player’s book. With stories about the creation of the book, interviews with bass experts and historians, and shots of Geddy Lee’s home studio, fans were able to learn about the book that brought Geddy Lee to Philadelphia on July 19th for a book signing event.
Cinema Strangiato, the two-and-a-half hour film that sent masses to the theater, was clearly marketed as “R40+,” meaning that fans were to expect the previously screened and released R40 Tour footage with other exclusive videos and sketches thrown in the mix, and that’s exactly what was delivered. The concert footage shown was an abbreviated version of the full R40 Tour film that featured hits such as “Tom Sawyer,” “Subdivisions,” “Closer To The Heart,” and “The Spirit of Radio,” as well as deep cuts and fan-favorites including “Xanadu,” “Losing It,” “Anthem,” and the intro to officially-unreleased early Rush jam “Garden Road.”
Although most Rush fans at the screening had seen that concert footage before, part of the draw of the annual fan event was the exclusive interviews and footage that were included. New interviews with Taylor Hawkins, Billy Corgan, Tom Morello, and Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz show the meaningful impact that the band has had on these famous musicians and the enormous respect they have for this humble trio from Toronto, ON. Tom Morello’s wife, Denise Morello, even joined into the conversation to prove that female Rush fans do actually exist. If you still do not believe us, check out the female-filled front row in the concert footage!
New Jersey received a nice shout-out from native Jonathan Dinklage whose never-before-seen interview and rehearsal with the band, before performing “Losing It” on electric violin for a number of shows on the R40 Tour, made the film. His brother, well-known actor Peter Dinklage, also made the film through his cameo in “Roll The Bones.” Rush, being known for their pre-concert and intermission skit videos during their live shows, also included a montage of those short films that include Paul Rudd, The Trailer Park Boys, and Jerry Stiller, among others, alongside the band.
Although only a small portion of the film was never-before-seen footage, any Rush fan should be grateful for the opportunity to see the band on the big screen, sing along to their favorite songs, laugh along to the band’s antics, and network with other fans since the change of seeing the band on stage again is slim-to-none. Like the screen said at the end of the film, “See you next year!” I cannot wait to see what the band brings to the big screen in 2020.
Samantha Ferrara is a music business student, former promotions intern at the greatest classic rock station in the world, and WMGK’s resident Rush fanatic. When she’s not nerding out over progressive rock, she’s probably making a fresh pot of gravy with way too much garlic.