Changing Hemispheres: Old News, Poorly Summarized
Thanks to John at Cygnus-X1.net, who transcribed the text portion of Rush: Changing Hemispheres (Video Music, Inc.), a booklet and DVD package released at the end of 2011, you can get a sense of whether it’s worth parting with $31.23 to get a copy. Based on what you’ll read, it’s not.
The 116-page booklet by James McCarthy is a quickly dashed-off summary of the band culled from existing sources, and it’s not at all evident that the writer had much knowledge of the band before taking up the project. He calls Neil the leader, which is something I think Neil would be surprised to hear.
“Neil Peart is the leader of the band, the iconic face of Rush and the band’s chief songwriter and percussionist.”
And then later he says, “After a few years with Rush, Peart had begun to style himself as the leader of the band and had also taken a great interest in writing and recording lyrics.”
And then he says, “Peart had begun to become the figure who would dominate the modern era of Rush, the big band leader, oozing charisma, passion and style.”
I have to say, that last sentence contains a combination of words I never expected to see strung together, but there they are.
The text is full of indications, large and small, that if the writer knew much about the band before he took up the project, he doesn’t reveal it in his writing. He says, for instance, that sales for the band’s debut album took off after it was played on the Donna Halper show on WMMS in Cleveland, but Halper didn’t have a show; she was the station’s program manager.
At one point, he refers to Fly by Night as “Fly by the Night” and says it “was undoubtedly the most successful album the band had released so far,” which makes you wonder why he says “undoubtedly,” since at the time there was only one other album to compare it to.
On Alex, he spends as much time talking about his appearances on Trailer Park Boys and other TV shows as he does on his guitar playing. So, at least we know he watched something.
Are the DVDs any better?
Until John at Cygnus x-1 or someone else transcribes the audio of the four DVDs, each a half hour in length, there isn’t anything to share about them here, but they’re covered in a review of the package on Amazon by DW:
If you want to see “musicians”, “actors”, “radio personalities”, and “critics” talk about Rush for less than two hours, you’re in luck. There is literally no one on this film that anyone outside of their mothers would want to see. Well, that’s not exactly true. Most moms know more about Rush than these sad, fat, bald men and have better things to do with their time. The ridiculous lack of information or knowledge inherent in any one of the reviewers makes this an infuriating watch. It’s as if someone who had never read a book tried to give you a lecture on Shakespeare.
In short, based on the transcript of the booklet on Cygnus-x1 and DW’s review of the DVDs on Amazon, Rush: Changing Hemispheres seems like a hastily pulled-together product. At the least, it’s a missed opportunity to provide something of value on a worthy topic.—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault