what i'm watching: shine a light

The Rolling Stones + Martin Scorsese + New York City = Allan and Laura go to the movies. In a movie theatre! For the first time in almost four years!

Yes, it's true, before this afternoon we had not seen a movie in a movie theatre in almost four years. We really don't care for the movie theatre experience: the ads, the people talking, the lack of pause and replay. We much prefer watching movies at home.

But some things must be experienced on a big screen. Martin Scorsese's new film of a Rolling Stones concert is playing in IMAX (Canadian!) five minutes from our home. And we can go to a weekday afternoon show, when there are only five other people in the theatre. This is what is called a no-brainer.

"Shine A Light" was filmed at New York City's Beacon Theatre, where I have seen dozens of concerts over the years. It's an old, restored theatre of the kind found in most North American cities, seats about 2,500 people. The Toronto equivalent is Massey Hall.

In 2006, the Stones performed there for two nights, part of Bill Clinton's 60th birthday celebration and a fundraiser for the Clinton Foundation. The Rolling Stones at The Beacon?! All I can say is thank goodness I didn't live in New York anymore, because even at this distance, the envy is killing me.

Shine A Light is a very good movie. It captures the controlled power and frenetic restraint of a Rolling Stones show. For Stones fans, it's an absolute must. But if you never really "got" the Stones, and you don't understand what all the fuss is about, you might want to see this movie. If you do and you still don't get it, check your pulse, because you're probably dead.

I could write an enormous blog post about The Stones, especially on Jagger and what makes him so great, and especially on Keith and what makes him Keith. These are subjects I've given a lot of thought and which Allan and I have talked about since literally - and I do mean literally - the night we met. But I won't do that. Instead I will say that the things that make The Stones, The Stones, are on brilliant display in Shine A Light.

It's not a perfect movie, I had a few criticisms, but they are very minor in comparison with the fun I had. And the envy. Did I mention envy?

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