Most of SHINE A LIGHT was shot during an up close and personal Rolling Stones performance at the Beacon Theater in New York. A lot of publicity preceded the concert, given that famed director Martin Scorcese was going to be directing the movie shoot. Ageist cynics wondered out loud how the craggy countenances of the Stones would look under the hot lights.
Yes, there are moments when Mick, Keith, and Ronnie do look like a trio of singing, guitar slinging, grizzled gargoyles. So what!! The songs on SHINE A LIGHT are carefully chosen, some of them seldom heard and given updated arrangements. The guests (Buddy Guy, Jack White, and Christine Aguillera) provide a nice change of pace. More often than not, the playing is very good and the camera work effectively takes in the broad sweep of the Stones and the other singers and musicians on stage, as well as the audience which seems to be on its feet clapping or cheering.
Mick Jagger seems to pull out every jittery, jump and twist out of his bag of dancing moves. It seems that he gets some coaching in this department. When the Rolling Stones were new in 1964, they followed James Brown in the Teen Age Music International (TAMI) show that was filmed for a movie. It was said that Jagger's hyperkinetic performance that night was his effort to prove that Mr Dynamite couldn't upstage him completely. Watching Mick J in SHINE A LIGHT might make a viewer wonder whether he still feels he has something to prove.
Keith Richards does a very nice version of You Got The Silver, as well as the more obscure Connection, first done live on a brief tour of Europe in 1967. There are plenty of Stones classics on SHINE A LIGHT, including Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, and Start Me Up. Fans may want to press Pause to take in the details of the lists of songs that were considered for the movie, but rejected. In one of the offstage moments captured in brief clips seen throughout the film, the titles are readily visible as Jagger is seen flipping through the pages that contain them.
A very nice collection of rehearsal moments featuring Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood jamming on blues changes, with Jagger playing harmonica lifts up the Featurette included as bonus material. Four songs not in the movie are also included. What should have been relegated to the Extras section was some of film of Scorcese fussing before the concert and Bill and Hillary Clinton (AND Hillary's mother -- Keith greets her by name --schmoozing and making small talk.
There isn't much that's wild and free or spontaneous about The Rolling Stones in SHINE A LIGHT -- the hype on the back of the dvd's case is not to be believed. But it's a good effort from a once great band.