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Rush Fans Wait in Rush Line to See Rush Doc

Meet father and son duo Mike and Chris Wilson, the two biggest Rush fans we know.


Rush The Documentary


At Tribeca, we deduced early on that the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage was a popular choice: in terms of visits to, the film’s film guide entry was consistently one of the most-viewed pages, and we’ve never had more enthusiastic fan comments on any page, ever. Then once tickets went on sale, the premiere screening was one of the first to reach (appropriately) “rush tickets” status. (You know, there’s no such thing as “sold out” at Tribeca!)


So we were anxiously awaiting April 25, because we knew the fans could not wait to see their favorite band on the big screen, and we wanted to meet them. But we had NO IDEA! Yesterday at 9:45 am, just about 12 hours prior to the screening, father/son duo Mike and Chris Wilson were the first to show up for the Rush line for Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. These avid Rush fans had come a long way—without the guarantee of tickets in hand—and they wanted to make sure their trip was not in vain.


Rush Fans Mike and Chris Wilson


19-year-old Chris Wilson (the son) came all the way from Victorville, CA, where he’s smack in the middle of his college midterms. (Don’t worry—he flew out after his Thursday class, and went back this morning, so his education was not endangered.)


Mike Wilson (the dad, no relation to the Beach Boy) came from closer by: Wallingford, CT. But he’s been on a long journey with Rush, one that began when he received the album Fly By Night for his 13th birthday in 1983. “I didn’t turn it off for a long time, and that was the beginning,” he explained. “The music was so original. I tried to break down all the time signatures to figure out how they wrote the song, and I read every lyric—which I do whenever I get a new Rush album. Before I knew it, Rush was my favorite band. Permanently.”


Chris doesn’t remember when he first learned about Rush. “I grew up listening to my dad’s favorite stuff, so he definitely introduced me. That’s kind of how it happens.”


The two have seen Rush in concert together twice—in 2008, they were 7 rows from the stage at a concert in Uncasville, CT. Chris remembers, “Through the whole entire evening, my jaw was dropped to the floor. We were close enough to make eye contact with Geddy Lee—we had conversations without any words. It was so intimate, it was like we were the only ones there. We all felt that way—we had our little moments.”


These two are serious fans, and their sincere love of the band is earnest and endearing. Though the band is best known for 80s hits like Tom Sawyer, Mike and Chris are not fans stuck in the glory days of the past. When I asked Mike to name his favorite album, he was reluctant to answer. “That’s a loaded question. Rush gets progressively better with every album, so it has to be their latest: Snakes and Arrows, from 2007.” Chris agrees: “The band is constructively critical of themselves, and there’s a new album due out next year, so that will probably become my favorite."


Rush The Documentary


What’s so great about Rush, and why are their fans so devoted? “They are among the most underrated bands,” Mike explained. “They have a following of people who have been inspired to become musicians because of their influence.”


Mike and Chris quickly became celebs themselves outside the SVA Theater on West 23rd Street Saturday, making friends with staff, volunteers and fellow fans alike. By late afternoon, a Tribeca ticketing agent found a way to reward their devotion with two tickets. Even though they didn’t need to wait on the Rush line for Rush anymore, I still found the pair hanging around the theater at 6 pm.


As I was talking with Mike and Chris, another fan/friend they’d made that day came up to ask a question about the red carpet, where band members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson were scheduled to appear before the film. (TFF Virtual Premium passholders, you can watch the archived red carpet arrivals, with Geddy and Alex here.) When I told her I was interviewing them for “the website,” though, I disappointed her. She said, excitedly, “The Rush website?!?” Sadly, no.


Chris and Mike, please email Tribeca so we can hear how you liked the movie!


Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage will play again throughout the Festival. Check the schedule and get your tickets now!


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