Monday, April 7, 2008

Shine a Light

In Webster's Dictionary 3008 Edition, instead of a definition for Rock 'n' Roll [rok-uhn-rohl] noun, they will just have this:

I have had the good fortune to have seen The Rolling Stones in concert twice. Friday night, I felt like I had seen them a third time. Big B and I went to see Scorsese's Shine a Light and it was so good. We left the theatre feeling like we had been at a concert. I danced in my seat the whole time and had to hold myself back from making a fool of myself by getting up and letting lose in the aisle.

The movie was shot during a Stones concert at Beacon Theater in NYC and is basically a concert film interspersed with a little historical footage. It was shot using 18 cameras and the resulting effect is an up close and personal perspective. You see their wrinkles, the sweat on their clothes, the ash on Keith's cigarette, everything. You get to watch their interactions on stage, the way Mick and Keith look at each other, Charlie Watt's expression of tiredness after one song, their cues, all that. The music is, of course, great and there are appearances by other musicians, my favorite being Buddy Guy. Some reviews said the film did not measure up to the standard set by the recent 3D U2 film, but I didn't see it and can't compare. I thought Shine a Light was a great time.

Throughout the film, I was struck by how old and yet young Mick Jagger and Keith Richards look. Their faces are a map of their living. Every wrinkle and crag probably points to the thousands of drinks, groupies, tokes, bong hits, snorts, and needles in their lives. These guys are about the age of my parents, but their skin is much, much worse. On the other hand, the guys are in amazing shape. Mick Jagger has more energy than my three year old. He is a whirlwind of motion the entire time. And while the other guys are more sedate on stage, it still must take an enormous amount of energy to put on the show that they do. Big B and I often like to joke that Richards has pickled himself and will probably outlive us all.

And despite their AARP membership, they have not lost their sex appeal. Rock and roll is largely about sex and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards may be the perfect match of sexual appeal in a band. Jagger is the world's best front man, full of himself and his ego. He exudes confidence and that's pretty sexy. He also has that ugly but strangely sexy thing going. He is not a necessarily good looking guy, though in his younger years he had a languorous sensuality about him. I have always seen him as somewhat androgynous. And yet, when he starts prancing across the stage and moving his hips in that manner that is all his, I can see the appeal.

And Keith Richards, what can you say? Back in my groupie days, he would have been my rock 'n' roll dream come true. He's the consummate bad guy with a sensitive side. He makes a comment in the movie about how he feels the music when he is onstage and in several moments, you see that. He closes his eyes and almost makes love to the guitar. That devotion and introspection, matched with the devil may care, rebellious attitude and the pirate accessories makes for a powerful good combo. I wouldn't kick him out of my bed, that's for sure.

It will be a sad, sad day when The Rolling Stones is no more. I hope I will get to see them at least one more time, but until then, Shine a Light will do nicely.


just jamie said...

I'm really wanting to see this, and now even more. Great details in your writing.

I'll check back for more.

Lord Andrew of Goulding said...

"I know it's only rock'n'roll...but I like it..."