Shine a Light
The Rolling Stones

A Martin Scorsese film
Starring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood
DVD from Paramount Pictures, with four bonus features
and a behind the scenes featurette
2008, 121 minutes, PG-13
Soundtrack CD available from Polydor Records

In the mid-50s, rock and roll was a disposable commodity - music for misled adolescents, leading to juvenile delinquency, an absolute fad that would disappear in six months. Who would have known that half a century later, rock would still exist (in a depleted form) and that the greatest rock and roll band in the world would still be rolling.

Formed in London in 1962 with the expressed purpose of preaching the wonder of the blues, the Rolling Stones 46 years later are doing exactly that. Shine A Light is a documentary along the lines of Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz. Shine a Light is a backstage pass, and a front row seat at a Stones concert over the Stones' two night stand at New York's famed Beacon Theatre.

The show begins with pre-gig preparations - phone calls, design sessions - between the Stones and Scorsese, and Scorsese's technical crew. There's lots of to-ing and fro-ing between both camps, and one frustration is the lack of a concert set list. There's pre-concert visits from friends, family, and Bill and Hillary Clinton and Hilary's mother. Bill is the host, and comments on what a great birthday present it is, to open for the Rolling Stones.

As show time draws near, there's still no set list. It's as if the chaos is almost planned. But somehow by divine intervention, the madness is transformed into organic bliss. As the Stones take the stage, Mr. Scorsese is handed the elusive set list, and the Stones thunder into their 1968 hit, "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The pace is hot and heavy as the band cooks on such faves as "Shattered," "All Down The Line," "She Was Hot," and "Loving Cup" with guest Jack White III from The White Stripes. One touching moment is the lads performing one of the first songs that Mick and Keith wrote in an apartment they shared with their first manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham, "As Tears Go By" (which was a mega hit by Jagger's soon to be girlfriend Marianne Faithful). "Some Girls" is cookin', as is the Stone's rendition of the Temptations' classic "Just My Imagination." But "Faraway Eyes" from the Some Girls album is a country fried delight!

The immortal, incomparable Buddy Guy pops in for a dynamic version of "Champagne and Reefer," after which Keith Richards presents him with one of his favorite guitars. Things roll on with "Tumbling Dice," which leads to Keith's solo spot, beginning with a heartfelt rendition of 1969's "You Got the Silver" from the classic Let It Bleed album, and "Connection" from the Between The Buttons LP.

Now, everyone needs a little sympathy every now and again, and in 1968 Lucifer's no exception, according to the Rolling Stones. In a crimson maelstrom, Mick Jagger makes a fiery entrance through the audience for this spectacular version of "Sympathy For The Devil." Christina Aguilera guests for a sizzling display on "Live With Me," where she proves to all who need proof that she's no teen pop tart, and is right at home with pros like "The Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band In The World."Without dropping a beat, the Stones fire the crowd up to yet a higher level with "Start Me Up," with "Brown Sugar," and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" hot on its heels.

The title track closes this stellar concert, with Jagger singing the chorus, "Make every song your favorite tune."

Interspersed with archival footage and interviews, Shine A Light is an artistic triumph for Martin Scorsese and the Rolling Stones. For hard core Stones fans this is a must; for newbies this is an introduction to a classic rock band that have done it their way for more than four decades. Available at prices you can afford from Best Buy.

Back to Home Page