Shine a Light Cover
‘Saw you stretched out in Room Ten O Nine. With a smile on your face and a tear right in your eye. Oh, couldn't seem to get a line on you, my sweet honey love’. Then, suddenly, just on the ‘ve’ of ‘love’, Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones, march right on up to the Director of this film, Martin Scorsese, to tell him that it was made in 2008 and lasts for 122 minutes.

Shine a Light

This documentary / stage performance, chronicles the Rolling Stones 2006 concert in front a packed theatre of adoring fans’ (plus Martin Scorsese). Here is a brief run down of what this feature entails:

THE PREPERATION: Director, Martin Scorsese, discusses with the roadies, the grips, a pier (Albert Maysles), as well as with the band itself (the Rolling Stones), about the details of their up and coming performance in The Beacon Theatre (New York City). Now these facets’ include such things as stage lighting – song choices and order – set design and construction – plus the theme of the show.

THE SHOW: After waiting for Hilary’s mother, former president, Bill Clinton, introduces onto the stage Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watt, Ronnie Wood, and the rest of the Rolling Stones, whom all perform:

  • Jumpin' Jack Flash
  • Shattered
  • She Was Hot
  • All Down the Line
  • Loving Cup – featuring Jack White
  • As Tears Go By
  • Some Girls
  • Just My Imagination
  • Far Away Eyes
  • Champagne & Reefer – featuring Buddy Guy
  • Tumbling Dice
  • Band introductions
  • You Got the Silver – lead vocal by Keith Richards
  • Connection – in part, with lead vocal by Keith Richards
  • Sympathy for the Devil
  • Live with Me – featuring Christina Aguilera
  • Start Me Up
  • Brown Sugar
  • (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction 

THE FOOTAGE: Inserted throughout the concert footage, are numerous related archive video clips, from ‘The Stones’ past history. These include fragmented interviews carried out by such luminaries as Michael Parkinson, David Frost, Dick Cavett, Chris Evans, a plethora of foreign correspondence, and the World in Action.

Once the show has ended, and the last song has been sung, the Rolling Stones all take a bow before the camera is guided into the hemisphere by Martin Scorsese, so that it is able to ‘Shine a Light’ over the city (hint, hint).

Now there was an old adage that sprung to mind whilst I was watching ‘Shine a Light’ – one that states’ ‘Even though the flesh is weak, the spirit is still young and healthy’. Well, it is amazing when you come to think about it. Because when this film was made, in 2006, Mick, Ron, Charlie, and Keith, where all in their early to mid sixties, and they can still really perform great rock and roll on stage. Heck, I am sure that they can put to shame nigh on anybody half their age, in the way in which they all cavort and prance around the arena, as if they all have a ferret ‘up em’ – especially Mick.

Shine a Light - Rolling Stones

Personally speaking, I did like watching this film – just as I liked watching Martin Scorseses’ other concert films, such as ‘Woodstock’ and ‘The Last Waltz’ (with Robbie Robinson and the band). However, with this one, he has surpassed his previous efforts, and made this a film with additional depth, with the use of a pithy and fractured introduction, plus the use of relevant inserts (taking the form of archival footage). Moreover, the music is great too – because it is vibrant, poignant, and diverse, both in style and content.

Here is a brief overlay on what really took my fancy:

  • The first fifteen minutes of ‘Shine a Light’, is pure Cinéma vérité – which is a stylised art form, in which the documentarian, Marty, showcases himself during the chronicling of the tale. Now I liked it for three reasons mainly. Firstly, because I could see Marty in action. Secondly, because I could see ‘the Stones’ within there natural environment. And thirdly, because the jumbled and overlapping nature of this ‘segment’, really fit the tone and the pace of the whole feature. In fact, the only downside to this ‘segment’ is that I would have likes to have seen more of it.
  • I found that the inserts within the concert film had a rather strange bi-polar effect on me. Initially, I liked watching them – as it showed the history and times in which ‘The Stones’ lived in, whilst simultaneously brining their individual personalities out more than usual. Subsequently, though, I could see the passage of time in a more blatant and overt matter – which, for selfish reasons alone, made me frown at the passing of age. My bad.
  • The concert proper was a very lavish affair indeed, and depicted ‘The Stones’ in a very good light [please excuse the supple pun]. Performance wise, all of them really had a time to shine [oops], because they all exhumed a charisma that was nigh on tangible. Mick was electrifying while he was wriggling about all over the stage, and both Ron and Keith also had that ‘cool vibe’ about them, which made me want to be a stone too (or stoned). In addition to this, I did enjoy the ‘special guest stars’ – especially how Keith smoked around Buddy, and how Mick rubbed himself up against Christina [dirty old git].
  • This film was dedicated to Ahmed Ertegün, who was the Turkish American music producer whom established ‘Atlantic records’, as well as brought to fame such recording artist as  Ben E. King, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Ray Charles. God bless him.

Well, as you can imagine, I can go on and on and on about this musical movie, and regale you about when Keith spat a cigarette out of his mouth as if it was a cruise missile, or when Mick did a very good impersonation of Tammy Wynette – but I won’t. Instead, I will just say that this is a great documentary / concert film for fans’ of this type of music – don’t you agree Mick?

Class in a can – say no more.


SHINE A LIGHT SHINE A LIGHT Reviewed by David Andrews on January 03, 2012 Rating: 5
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