Shine A Light – DVD Review

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Martin Scorsese: one of the greatest living filmmakers in the world. The Rolling Stones: one of the greatest rock n roll bands in the world. Both have spent decades mastering their perspective crafts and neither is new to the Concert Film. In 1978 Scorsese gave us The Last Waltz, The Band’s last live performance, and The Stones were looked at through the eyes of the Maysles brothers in 1970’s Gimme Shelter. Like pizza and beer these two great tastes come together to in this very tasty film, Shine A Light.

Being that this is a Scorsese film you know it’s going to be more than just a two hour long concert on film. It opens with twelve minutes of behind the scenes footage as both Scorsese and The Stones prepare for this event; a charity concert being hosted by Bill Clinton. There are things that Scorsese wants to do as a filmmaker that will make a better film, but Mick Jagger is concerned that the lights will be too hot and that the crane cameras will be either distracting to the audience or maybe just a little bit dangerous. Scorsese is also concerned about getting a play list so he can better plan what he wants to do with his array of cameras. Just as Keith Richards comes out on stage and launches into a rockin’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash, a piece of paper is tossed into Scorsese’s lap. “The set list!” someone shouts and the concert begins.

For a band that has been touring and releasing albums for over forty years and whose youngest member is 61 and oldest 67, Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie still know how to rock! For the rest of the two hours we are treated to 18 quality performances from hits like Sympathy For The Devil and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, to Keith’s solo performed You Got The Silver and some blues and country thrown in to mix things up.

There are three wonderful guests who join the stage as well. Jack White of The White Stripes duets with Mick on Loving Cup and pop star Christina Aguilera lends her hearty lungs to Live With Me. However, the best appearance comes from Buddy Guy during the blues standard Champagne and Reefer. Guy is both an amazing singe and phenomenal guitar player and he gives both Mick and Keith a run for their money at the same time.

Between songs Scorsese cuts to old interviews with the various bands members dating back to sixties when the band was just getting some fandom and notoriety, up to the 80’s. These are wonderful little snippets into the bands past and history and add a nice layer to the film.

This DVD isn’t as good as seeing them live, but I suppose if you’ll never get the chance then it’s the next best thing. These guys are still rockin’ and full of energy and could probably give most new bands today a run for there money. If you appreciate good rock n’ roll, this is definitely a film you should check out.

The film is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo surround. English, French and Spanish subtitles. This is a great looking concert that is mostly in color but switches between color and black and white during the behind the scenes stuff. It sounds fantastic.

Behind-The-Scenes Featurette (15 min.) This is a great addition to the behind the scenes stuff already shown in the theaters. It gives more of the rehersal and some more archival interiviews. It’s edited together very well and is a joy to watch.

4 Bonus performances: (16 min.) Undercover Of The Night, Paint It Black, Little T & A and I’m Free. These songs were cut from the film but you can watch them here

If you think The Rolling Stones are band that are over the hill and just a bunch of old guys trying to hold on to the dream then you need to check this out. These guys are still rockin’ hard and proving that not only do they know how to have a good time but they still know how to show the audience a good time too, both those in the audience and us at home. It’s a solid concert from an amazing rock group.


Paramount presents Shine A Light. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts. Running time: 121 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: July 29, 2008. Available at

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