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"Shine A Light" ****

Tuesday April 1, 2008

Rode over to the glorious art-deco Senator Theater to see Martin Scorcese's latest concert masterpiece. Creator of 1978's critically acclaimed "The Last Waltz" (which documents The Band's last performance at San Fran's Winterland and is considered, in many circles, the greatest concert film ever made), Martin has succeeded once again to produce, what I feel, will be the definitive Rolling Stone concert film. The first 5 minutes or so gives you a glimpse into the chaos that is The Stones as Marty tries to handle the logistics of the venue (New York's famed Beacon Theater in the fall of 2006) and with the group itself in trying to capture the raw energy and exuberance that only Mic and the boys can produce. Captured initially in B&W, you get the feeling that the crew will be flying from the seats of their collective pants trying to get it all right (e.g., Scorsese is practically held clueless until the last minute as to what will be the opening song in order to position his cameras for the right shot). Then, before you know it, the opening strains of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" fill the theater and off you go to experience one of the most impressive rock & roll shows you will ever see-whether it be live or on film. I know. I've seen them live at least 5 times from 1968 until February 2007 (the first and last times at the same venue-The Baltimore Civic Center/Arena). Interspersed are a smattering of mainly archival interview snippets that depict what these old rockin' dudes were like over 35 some years ago. There was some criticism I've read/heard that more recent interviews would have been nice to see and hear. I say, NO WAY! This isn't a interview film. It's a concert film (as Gumby would say) "DAMNIT!" Asked by Dick Cavett in 1972 whether he pictured himself doing this at 60, Jagger answered as quickly as he could, "Yes"! and the next shot is a 63 old Jagger doing his thing. Another criticism I've read/heard: too much Mic. Again, I say hogwash. The Stones ARE Mic Jagger. After 2 hours of watching you won't believe how exhausted you'll be, much less this 63 year old human marvel who moves more now than when he was 20! You get enough of the other guys to know their importance to the whole, but the show is all about Jagger and his mystique. The show includes 3 numbers in which Mic & the boys are joined by Jack White, Christine Aguilera, and Buddy Guy and, particularly the latter 2, don't disappoint or subtract from the mix. When I saw them last year, I said that would be it. I didn't want to see any of them keel over on stage-that I wanted to be certain that I would be left with a pleasant musical memory that would last forever. After seeing this, though, I want to see them again! It is that good!! Special note: Be certain you catch it at a theater well equipped to handle the sound. The Senator, with its state-of-the-art sound system, is the perfect venue that captures the 2 hour vitality that will have you thoroughly entertained-and exhausted!!!