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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Concert Movie Lists

Dan Here:

Time for another round of Best Of Lists.

Previously we have listed the Best Of Movie BarsMatt DamonJohnny DeppTony Scott,

Today, much to the delight of Chris and screaming girls everywhere, UK boy band One Direction, release their concert film, THIS IS US. For some of the new generation, this is like seeing The Beatles on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and possibly, better than Miley at the VMAs. 

This monumental event has prompted Chris and I to comb through all of the concert movies and music docs we have ever seen. We picked a Combined Top 5 and then each chose 5 more favorites. Sadly, CYPRESS HILL: STILL SMOKIN' did not make the cut, but still, we present: 
The Best Concert Movie Lists!

The Combined All-Time Top 5


"These go to eleven."
It may not be a "real" music documentary, but THIS IS SPINAL TAP had to make the Top 5.
For my money, it's the best mockumentary ever made and possibly Rob Reiner's best film.
There are too many classic lines and scenes to recap, but certainly in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is quite often useful. 
TAP is a 10. Or an 11.


Talking Heads and famed director Jonathan Demme's iconic, 1984 independent film.
We get an amazing solo version of "Psycho Killer", lead signer David Byrne doing the "big suit" routine and a great performance of "Genius Of Love" by Tom Tom Club. If you want an introduction to one of the coolest bands in history, crank up the surround sound and start here.


"If you remember it, then you weren't there."
Well, I am glad somebody kept it together long enough to film this documentary!
Woodstock was the cultural pinnacle of a generation and this film captured it very well considering the circumstances. While Jimi Hendrix's "Star-Spangled Banner" is the best remembered song of the festival (even though barely anybody was there to hear it), the real gem is Richie Havens doing "Freedom". It's very powerful and gets to the root of the Woodstock spirit. 
Also, most of it was an improvisation, as he was riffing off an old spiritual to fill time.


Watching GIMME SHELTER, when you know the outcome of the event is almost painful.
You see managers, lawyers, promoters and The Rolling Stones jockey for position on a sinking ship. They all tried to create "Woodstock West", but failed miserably. The movie and cast of characters is so good, it's hard to believe it's all genuine. But there is no way to fake the awesomeness of Mick Jagger in this flick. Love when they debut "Brown Sugar" in their hotel room. 


A band so good they were simply called, The Band. Throw in some of the biggest names in music and you have the perfection that is, THE LAST WALTZ. I've seen this movie and listened to the album more times than I can count, but it never gets old. My favorite part: Bob Dylan joining The Band for "I Don't Believe You". Dylan had been out of the spotlight for a little while, but he was in top form here. Definitely one of my favorite live Dylan performances in history. 
Plus, it's Martin Scorsese, so you know it's good.

Click The link Below For More Of The Best Concert Movies!

Dan's List

I watched this concert live on Youtube and came to the (now obvious) conclusion that Bono is truly one of the best frontmen in music history. Pulling off a concert in the round is very difficult, but he and the rest of the old pros make it look easy. The camera work and editing are near perfect and it's the best filming of a concert that I have ever seen.

Janis Joplin and Grateful Dead are on a train, going across Canada. I know it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it's actually the beginning of an incredible music doc. I was lucky enough to see this in the theater in 2003 and was completely blown away. The Dead, Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy and many other acts did a train tour in 1970 and it was all documented. A must see.

Give a bunch of fans at the concert cameras and see what you get back. It was a novel idea and it makes for one great Concert Movie. The Beastie Boys may be my favorite musical act of all-time, and I saw them two months before this show took place and again two months after. Seeing your favorite band live is a great thing and I'm so glad to always have this as a real reminder. R.I.P. MCA, Adam Yauch

Love Madonna acting for the audience and dragging Warren Beatty along for the ride. She was at the peak of her powers, next-level famous and knew how to manipulate the press better than anybody else. Guess Who else liked this movie? Yup, our boy, Roger Ebert. A 3.5 Star Review from the man himself? Solid gold.


I wish I could go back in time to the Bob Dylan concert in NO DIRECTION HOME. 
Nobody calls Dylan "Judas" on my watch. 
The electric-heaven version of "Like A Rolling Stone" that follows always gets me singing.
I watch this once or twice a year and it's always a great time.
Dylan was a master of his craft and it's no wonder he shows up on all three lists.

Honorable Mention:
NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD-- I dream of Jim Carrey playing Neil Young in a biopic. 
THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME-- Your only chance to get the Led Out on DVD. 
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB-- "Chan Chan" and "Candela" were played at my wedding.
DIG!-- The Brian Jonestown Massacre vs. The Dandy Warhols. Great doc.

Chris's List 
I think our Combined Top 5 is damn near perfect and it is probably my true Top 5, but here are 5 more more that I love. And for the record I have no idea who "One Direction" is:  

#5 - Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale
I saw this delightful little gem at a film festival in New Orleans. This little seen film documents the collaboration between New Orleans' legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band and rockers My Morning Jacket, all culminating in an intimate live performance.  

#4 - Soul Power 
I caught this documentary late one night on PBS. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the elaborate soul music concert (headlined by James Brown, B.B. King, and Bil Withers) that coincided with the legendary Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman heavyweight boxing championship (dubbed "The Rumble in the Jungle" in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974.

#3 - Dave Chappelle's Block Party 
Made during the height of his fame, this comedy-concert film (directed by Michel Gondry) is as hilarious as it is insightful, with great performances from Kanye West, Mos Def, Common, John Legend, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and the oh-so-brief reunion of The Fugees. 

#2 - Buena Vista Social Club
The first time I saw this movie was in Spanish class back in high school. Directed by Wim Wenders, the film follows a group of legendary, yet mostly forgotten Cuban musicians as the plan, rehearse, and travel to a sold out concert in the U.S. Filled with great music that will make you want to dance all night. 

#1 - Dont Look Back
Directed by P.A. Pennebaker, this is an all-access look at Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes many incredible performances while also capturing the artist backstage with friends, dealing with press, and his breakup with fellow singer Joan Baez. But most importantly, the film opens with this terrific quasi-music video for Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (one of my favorite Dylan tunes):

I can only find the clip with commentary from Pennebaker and Bob Neuwirth
(which is perfectly fine with me):
Honorable Mention:
Monterey Pop - Both the documentary and the concert itself are overshadowed by Woodstock, but they are almost as good
Let It Be - More of a behind-the-scenes of the making of the album, the film still includes some great performances including the band's final rooftop concert 
Shine A Light - Scorsese and rock-n-roll go together like PB&J
The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights - Unconventional, but nonetheless great.
I also second Dan's mentions of Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That and Neil Young: Heart of Gold

Those Are The Lists!

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