You’re the Rolling Stones. You want to film one of your concerts. Who do you ask to do that? Martin Scorsese! Just let that image percolate in your mind for a minute. A Rolling Stones concert shot as a Scorsese film. Don’t worry. The concert doesn’t end with a pile of dead bodies across the front of the stage. Jagger, Richards, Watts and Wood are very much alive. And they rock! The result is Shine a Light.
Scorsese intercuts the concert footage with behind the scenes looks at the pre-production concerns. Jagger’s fixation on the danger of the big boom cameras. Scorsese’s neurotic obsession about the absence of a fixed playlist. Historical news clips and archival interviews with band members round out the rest of the film and provide a more three-dimensional look at where the Stones fit into the history of rock and roll. Add Jack White, Buddy Guy, Christina Aguilera and Bill Clinton to the lineup and you have a fantastic, star-studded evening in a beautiful venue: the historic Beacon Theater in New York City.
Scorsese has often used Stones music in his films. In an interview about the documentary Jagger joked that Shine a Light may be the only Scorsese film that does not include “Gimme Shelter”. Brilliant entertainment.