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?


allan said...

I was telling Laura on the way out that it seemed that, compared to when we last saw the band (not even sure when that was) and more recent stuff I have watched online, that Jagger was much more animated on stage. More energy, more movement; smaller stage probably helped.

He'll turn 65 this July. After seeing the film today, that's about impossible to believe.

laura k said...

He'll turn 65 this July. After seeing the film today, that's about impossible to believe.

There are many men and women in their 60s of whom I would say, they look great for their age. Many dignified beauties. Many I find very pleasing to look at. But about how many would I say, damn, he (or she) is hot.

Just Jagger, I think.

allan said...

Links to setlists of both nights, some pix and a handful of reviews.

October 29, 2006

November 1, 2006

laura k said...


Charlie Anonymous said...

I saw the Stones in 1989. I was in the nosebleed seats and they were soooo far away.
Stones in movie form sounds really good though.
The other week Stell and I were watching the Rock & Roll Circus.
Pete Townsend was so much fun in that. He was a jumping bean in a warehouse full of exhausted bands and film makers.

laura k said...

I think we saw them twice on that tour, at Shea Stadium. Good shows, one was fantastic.

I've seen them in: 1976, 1978, 1981, 1989 (twice), 1992, 1994, 1997.

Only wish I had seen them in 1972, and had been old enough to appreciate it.

laura k said...

Oops, meant to say I love Rock N Roll Circus. I think I've blogged about it. Yes, Townsend is great in that.

allan said...

How good were the Stones in these concerts? ... They made "She Was Hot" sound fantastic.


allan said...

Another review.