Shine A Light

Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
The cover of Shine a Light is a montage of photos of the Rolling Stones as they are jamming. The photos are in black and white, and they sit atop a red background. It’s pretty good I suppose, if not a tad unoriginal. Then again this is film of the Stones in concert, so there is not a whole lot you can do with a cover like this.

The menus are also standard rock and roll fare. Basically the menu is the same montage as the cover, with a small “intro” piece that plays before it featuring the band and Scorsese as they embark on filming the show. Decent, but bland.

Features: 6/10
There really was not a whole lot of bonus material included on the DVD. I was kind of expecting some great insight into Martin Scorsese’s vision, but we really only get a behind the scenes feature that skimmed the surface of what I really was looking to see, and a bunch of bonus songs that were not included in the release itself.

I really thought that we would get to see more about the decision to make the movie and the techniques used, but I was wrong. The extra songs are nice, and the short feature is fun, but I really wanted more.

Movie: 8/10
Well there really is not a whole lot to say about the premise of Shine a Light. Martin Scorsese films the Rolling Stones in 2006 at the Beacon Theatre. For Rolling Stones fans, that should just about cover all of the bases for seeing this DVD. Lucky for me, I am a fan of the Stones and Scorsese, so this is kind of a no brainer.

Having said that, every time that I see or hear the Stones live, I get that unsettling feeling that this will be the show where I think they have stayed past their welcome date. It is the feeling of “can they still pull this off, or is this the one where Mick breaks his hip?” Luckily the band can still pull this off, and no Mick was not injured.

Scorsese starts this DVD off with the band strolling out of the dressing room on their way to the stage, as Bill Clinton introduces the band to the very small Beacon Theatre. In terms of a concert this has to be considered a real gem. Seeing the Rolling Stones in a small 2800 seat theater is like winning the lottery, as the Stones normally fill 20,000 seat venues. There truly is nothing as amazing as seeing a huge band play in an intimate venue.

Scorsese basically pulls out all of the stops, and films the band as they rip through hit after hit. There are clips of old interviews interspersed between the songs that really span the career of the band, and they really add something to the DVD. It is amazing to see, through images, the progression of these old guys as they pull off the rock and roll equivalent of the Energizer Bunny. They just keep going, and going.

The set list is (thankfully) chock full of the Stones staples, including Start Me Up, Shattered, and Jumping Jack Flash. There are some guest appearances by Jack White (of the White Stripes), Christina Aquilera , and Buddy Guy. Each is impressive in a different way (Aguilera, regardless of what you think of her music, is an absolutely amazing singer, as evidenced by her duet with Mick Jagger.)

The band itself is on, and they really put on an amazing show. Mick Jagger flails around like he always has, and has more energy than should be allowed for anyone over the age of 35. Keith Richards is a walking skeleton, as he has always been, but he is able to swagger around the stage with the air of a man who has truly cheated death a thousand times and lived to tell about it. His style has always been one of almost detached interest, but it is apparent that he is doing what he loves – playing guitar. My only gripe is that he seems to almost relish the fact of playing the songs in his own style, often slightly off tempo and sometimes off key. There are times where the songs and solos just seem to be somewhat off, but after playing these songs for so many years, I guess I can see why he just does what he does instead of sticking to the original. It seems to work with the Stones for some reason, as their live shows have a flow that makes them seem fresh and relevant, whereas if another band were to mess with a hit while playing it live it may just seem bad.

As for Ron Wood and Charlie Watts, the other two original members of the band, they are really the glue that holds the Stones live shows together. Mick and Keith often seems to just go their own way, and the constant, nearly perfect drumming of Charlie Watts just seems to be the hook that the shows hangs on. That coupled with the amazing talent of Ron Wood just makes the Stones a band worth seeing live.

I truly enjoyed seeing Shine a Light as I feel that it displays the Rolling Stones as the real deal. This is a band that has endured for years, and they are still relevant and they can still put on a riveting live performance. Coupled with the fact that the presentation on this DVD is nearly perfect, Shine a Light is an amazing time capsule of one of the most important rock and roll bands ever. They may be old, but the Rolling Stones are definitely still able to play.

The Set List Is:
Jumping Jack Flash
She Was Hot
All Down the Line
Loving Cup – featuring Jack White III
As Tears Go By
Some Girls
Just My Imagination
Far Away Eyes
Champagne and Reefer – featuring Buddy Guy
Tumblin Dice
You Got The Silver
Sympathy for the Devil
Live With Me – featuring Christina Aguilera
Start Me Up
Brown Sugar
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Video & Audio: 8/10
The video and audio for this DVD are superb, the Blu-Ray version really shines (excuse the pun). The video is crisp and atmospheric and colorful. I was blown away by some of the shots that Scorsese was able to put together, and it is readily apparent that the editing on this DVD was painstakingly done over a long period of time. The film is brilliant and seamless.

The audio is excellent also, which is to be expected in a big budget live concert film. It is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound & DTS HD on the Blu-Ray version, and it truly sounds amazing.

Value: 7/10
For a concert DVD, this is well worth a buy if you’re a Rolling Stones fan. The show is an intimate, small venue concert, and it seems as if the timeless Stones feed of off the energy that is created in the Beacon Theatre. It is refreshing to see such a gigantic band in a small venue like this, and since very few of us had the privilege to witness the concert first hand, this is the next best thing. It is hard to believe these guys can still pump out such a great performance, with such intensity, after all of these years. I enjoyed Shine a Light, and it makes me want to see the Stones again live. Hopefully I still can.

Overall Score 7/10