Apr 6, 2008

Shine A Light

Who would have thought that the Rolling Stones could be endearing? Old, yes; nuts, certainly; great, without a doubt. But Martin Scorsese's gorgeous, loving tribute to the Metuselah of bands is sheer joy, because it shows them up close, at their best. They are lovely. And the film is the product of love of rock and roll. You feel the love for the music in every frame.
I did not but tickets to the IMAX version because of the alarming prospect of seeing Keith Richards' face in such a format. But the regular format is amazing. The sound is fantastic and the cinematography, by Robert Richardson, and using as camera operators some of the most genius cinematographers in the business, is absolutely beautiful. The camera captures the amazing energy of the concert and many of the takes are very up close, so you see the feeling, the expression, the mischievousness, the connection, (and the age) everything you really never see when you are in the nosebleed section at a humongous, impersonal arena.
The movie felt a bit long to me, because after all, you are watching a filmed concert instead of being there, which is weird. I felt like clapping and hooting and dancing, but then I realized I was at a movie. Concert films are tough that way. But when done with the righteousness of Scorsese, what a gift!
The Stones are the greatest garage band ever. And they are still beholden to their bluesy roots. When Buddy Guy shows up, you can see where the heart of this great band is, which is the right place.
And the best part is that for all their financial savvy, they still have fun and they still deliver. Mick Jagger is a fucking force of nature. Plus, they are smart. They are sophisticated and intelligent and witty. As astonishing as it is, given that they are aging gazillionaires, their commitment and their enjoyment are genuine. They are amazing performers. They put on a show.
I only started appreciating them after I saw them in concert for the first time, around 7 years ago. Until then I liked some of their songs but was not a huge fan. But they came out to a soaking wet Meadowlands, where people were dripping wet and they played as if nothing fazed them and they played as if they didn't have to do it all over again in another 50 arenas, and they played as if it wasn't raining at all. They gained my unending respect and admiration.
Time is on their side, their Majesties, The Rolling Stones.

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