When I heard Martin Scorsese (one of my favorite directors) was making a documentary about The Rolling Stones (my favorite band) naturally I was interested. Neither of these artists have been particularly exciting to me for quite some time, but the signifigance of the work they made in their prime make them matter more than most nonetheless. When I found out Shine A Light is a documentary about a 2006 Rolling Stones concert, I pretty much lost interest.
Scorsese and The Stones are the director and subject of the two best concert films ever, The Last Waltz and Gimme Shelter. No competition there. This is, well, just another Stones concert movie, and there are lots of them: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones; Gimme Shelter; Let's Spend The Night Together; Robert Frank's excellent documentary of their '72 tour Cocksucker Blues (which will finally get a legitimate release this year from Steidl); and let's not forget The Tami Show.
The most interesting thing about this film is the title. "Shine A Light" is one of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite records. It's about Brian Jones, the first of many casualties of people close to the Stones. Gram Parsons died trying to emulate his pal Keith Richards; Danny Seymour, photographer and filmmaker who made Cocksucker Blues with Robert Frank disappeared shortly after making the film; Someone actually gets murdered in Gimme Shelter; and ironically, Ahmet Ertegun, while at the Beacon Theatre to attend the concert from which this film is made, fell and hit his head, eventually going into a coma and dying.
Here's an outtake version of "Shine A Light." Looser and funkier than the released version. I guarantee you this is better than the film. Also, a weird Brian Jones era Rolling Stones version of a Beach Boys classic.
"Get A Line On You (Shine A Light)" mp3
by The Rolling Stones, 1968(?)
with Leon Russell on piano
"I Get Around" mp3
by The Rolling Stones, 1965.
"Shine A Light" mp3
by The Rolling Stones, 1972.
available on Exile on Main St.