The 21 Best Concert Films of All Time – Paste

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Whereas the idea of a live performance movie is easy, courting again to 1948’s Live performance Magic that includes violinist Yehudi Menuhin, a terrific live performance movie requires inspiration from each director and performer, a collaboration that unifies the most effective qualities of filmmaking and music. Like each cinematic style, live performance filmmaking has its greats: Jonathan Demme, D.A. Pennebaker, Martin Scorsese—all of whom are represented on this listing of the most effective live performance movies, alongside bands who stored management of the filmmaking course of themselves.

Stay music is a give-and-take between musician and viewers, and that may be a troublesome factor to seize on movie. The 20 movies that observe handle to permit viewers really feel like they’re a part of the second and talk what we love about a few of our favourite stay performers, together with a number of who’re now not with us. These movies protect their greatness for future generations.

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Listed here are the 21 greatest live performance movies of all time:

21. Superior; I Fuckin’ Shot That!

Band: The Beastie Boys 12 months: 2006 Director: Nathaniel Hörnblowér Most Beastie Boys followers know Adam Yauch as MCA. However the late rapper, singer, songwriter, musician and activist was additionally a filmmaker, who based indie movie distribution firm Oscilloscope Laboratories and directed most of the Beastie Boys’ movies underneath the moniker Nathaniel Hörnblowér. On Oct. 9, 2004, he handed out 50 camcorders to followers at a sold-out present at Madison Sq. Backyard with the request that they preserve them working for the whole lot of the live performance, which additionally featured visitor appearances from Doug E. Recent and DMC. David Cross performs Hörnblowér within the movie, which was lower collectively from the followers’ footage. Yauch screened the movie for the newbie videographers 15 months later earlier than its Sundance debut. —Josh Jackson

20. Child Snakes

Artist: Frank Zappa 12 months: 2012 Director: Frank Zappa For Frank Zappa followers, his multi-night run at The Palladium in New York Metropolis again in October of 1977 is the stuff of legend. It got here within the midst of one of many guitarist/composer’s most fertile artistic durations, which might yield a dozen stay and studio albums over the following 5 years. It additionally produced the self-directed, self-distributed function movie Child Snakes, constructed from footage captured at one in every of these vaunted Halloween reveals in ’77, together with stop-motion clay animation from Bruce Bickford. The movie is a showcase for what’s arguably Zappa’s greatest backing band of his prolonged profession, an ensemble that boasted future Speaking Heads/King Crimson member Adrian Belew on guitar, percussion grasp Ed Mann and, most crucially, the outrageously proficient drummer Terry Bozzio. The songs themselves are dizzying, braiding collectively jazz, psychedelia, proto-metal and up to date classical. There are sufficient pop-style hooks to attract you in, however you’d higher be ready to carry on tight. —Robert Ham

19. Live performance for George

Artists: Ravi Shankar, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Monty Python, Jeff Lynn, extra 12 months: 2003 Director: David Leland Live performance for George pays tribute to not just one the best musicians in historical past, however one of many freakin’ Beatles. The efficiency passed off on the Royal Albert Corridor in London in honor of the primary anniversary of George Harrison’s loss of life, with Eric Clapton and Jeff Lynne serving as musical administrators. The primary half of the present targeted on the normal Indian music that was a deep curiosity of Harrison’s, whereas the latter half featured performances from legendary musicians equivalent to fellow-Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, in addition to Clapton, Lynne and Tom Petty, amongst others. Proceeds from the live performance benefitted Harrison’s Materials World Charitable Basis “to sponsor various types of creative expression and to encourage the exploration of other life views and philosophies.” —Wyndham Wyeth

18. Michael Jackson’s This Is It

Artist: Michael Jackson 12 months: 2009 Director: Kenny Ortega The Michael Jackson live performance that by no means occurred is captured within the movie This Is It. Though Jackson’s deliberate collection of concert events was cancelled together with his premature loss of life simply 18 days earlier than the primary present, a lot of the rehearsal was caught on movie. The footage captures a lot of Jackson’s imaginative and prescient in addition to his perfectionist nature. Regardless of controversial beginnings with monetary disputes between AEG and the Jackson property, This Is It exists as a remaining portrait of a person who remained a devoted artist from childhood up till his dying days—and of a performer who hadn’t misplaced a step at age 50, as he proves on a variety of songs, from opener “Wanna Be Startin’ One thing” by way of “I Need You Again” (a part of a Jackson 5 medley), “Thriller,” “Beat It,” all the way in which to nearer “Heal the World.” —Paste Workers

17. Okonokos

Band: My Morning Jacket 12 months: 2006 Administrators: Sam Erickson, Wyatt Smith Recorded after their extremely acclaimed album Z, Okonokos highlights performances from the most effective stay acts within the nation. Jim James, Carl Broemel, Partick Hallahan, Bo Koster and “Two Tone” Tommy play 20 songs—greater than two hours of music—from throughout their already deep catalog over two nights at The Fillmore in San Francisco. By the point they attain “Mahgeetah” from 2003’s It Nonetheless Strikes close to the top, you’ll be satisfied this is among the tightest, most proficient American bands of the twenty first century. —Paste Workers

16. Stay on the Paramount

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Band: Nirvana 12 months: 2011 Director: Nirvana Earlier than they have been fodder for Scorching Subject T-shirts, Nirvana was an important rock band of the late twentieth century. Stay on the Paramount is an unbelievable reminder of the ability of their sound and the readability of their aesthetic. Filmed on Halloween evening only a month after Nevermind was launched, that is the one Nirvana present ever shot on 16mm movie. Consequently, the image and sound are each gorgeous. And with a number of cameras providing a number of appears — from the viewers, behind the band and the whole lot in between, plus footage of lovely grunge youngsters milling concerning the sold-out present — Stay on the Paramount actually locations the viewer in the course of the second. That is Nirvana on the peak of its powers, taking part in its hometown simply because it breaks by way of into superstardom. It’s not only a live performance movie. It’s an vital historic doc. —Ben Salmon

15. Neil Younger: Coronary heart of Gold

Artist: Neil Younger 12 months: 2006 Director: Jonathan Demme The primary of three documentaries Jonathan Demme made with Neil Younger captures a pair of performances in Nashville quickly after the singer survived a mind aneurysm. Demme has a particular affection for the legendary frontman, and the movie spills over with the identical sort of affection for Younger’s band (together with Emmylou Harris and Spooner Oldham), for the town during which they’re taking part in and for the enduring Ryman, the venue they’re occupying. There’s an entire lot of affection within the room—to not point out an entire lot of nice music from Prairie Wind, Younger’s twenty seventh album, partially devoted to his not too long ago deceased father. —Josh Jackson

14. Beneath Nice White Northern Lights

Band: The White Stripes 12 months: 2010 Director: Emmett Malloy It was troublesome to decide on between this movie and its predecessor, Beneath Blackpool Lights, however now that The White Stripes are not any extra, this movie is much more related. Beneath Nice White Northern Lights paperwork one of many candy-coated duo’s final collection of performances, as they toured throughout Canada in help of Icky Thump. The tour took them to each province and most of the performances proven have been from distant locales like Yukon, Northwest Terretories, Nunavut and Nova Scotia. The final scene of the movie options Jack, seated at his piano with a weeping Meg on his shoulder, as he kilos out the chords and belts the phrases for “White Moon.” Maybe they knew, even then, that their days collectively have been brief. —Wyndham Wyeth

13. Stay on the Isle of Wight Competition

Band: The Who 12 months: 1996 Director: Murray Lerner At 2:00 a.m. on Aug. 30, 1970, The Who took the stage in entrance of 600,000 revelers on the Isle of Wight Competition off the southern coast of England. The three hours of ensuing nocturnal brilliance and mayhem have been partially captured for posterity by filmmaker Murray Lerner. The “partially captured” caveat is the important thing. The Who performed for 3 hours, however the live performance footage captures lower than an hour and a half of the efficiency. Evidently, loads of movie was relegated to the reducing room ground, and this truth turns into most obvious within the lengthy medley from Tommy, which options solely half the songs really performed. In any other case, that is a completely important doc of what might have been the period’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band performing on the peak of its powers. The band reprises a number of of the early Mod classics (“I Can’t Clarify,” “My Technology,” “Magic Bus”), tosses in just a few principally forgettable songs from an aborted venture that did not see launch between Tommy and Who’s Subsequent, blazes by way of a pair stay favorites (“Summertime Blues,” “Younger Man Blues”) and gives the truncated Tom model of Tommy. Roger Daltrey, bare-chested and sporting a buckskin jacket, does an exemplary job of taking part in the strutting, swaggering frontman. Townshend breaks into his patented windmill power-chord strums, gyrates wildly and is the principle contributor to the smashing (actually) finale. Keith Moon pummels his drum package into oblivion. And John Entwistle stands inventory nonetheless and performs his bass, however not less than he’s sporting a cool skeleton shirt. It’s all marvelous rock ’n’ roll theatre. —Paste Workers

12. Demon Days: Stay on the Manchester Opera Home

Band: Gorillaz 12 months: 2006 Administrators: David Barnard, Grant Gee What band higher represents an period rooted in digital info than digital band Gorillaz? Demon Days: Stay at Manchester Opera Home retains with the mysterious nature of the Damon Albarn’s music underneath the moniker, relying rather more closely on lights and projected pictures than the precise visible efficiency of the musicians. A number of the peformers, notably Albarn, are silhouetted all through nearly all of the live performance. The movie additionally options a number of visitor performers, together with Neneh Cherry (“Youngsters with Weapons”), Bootie Brown (“Soiled Harry”), De La Soul (“Really feel Good Inc.”), Ike Turner (“Each Planet We Attain Is Useless”), DOOM (“November Has Come”) and Dennis Hopper (a studying of “Fireplace Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head”). —Wyndham Wyeth

11. Shut Up and Play the Hits

Band: LCD Soundsystem 12 months: 2012 Administrators: Will Lovelaces, Dylan Southern Three years in the past, a whole bunch of associates and 1000’s of followers converged on Madison Sq. Backyard for LCD Soundsystem’s farewell efficiency. All of the whereas, the cameras have been rolling, leading to Shut Up And Play the Hits, a documentary that follows James Murphy and the band within the days main as much as, throughout and after the tumultuous four-hour farewell. Administrators Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern use a staggering variety of cameras and crosscut liberally to supply an expertise that’s arguably even higher than seeing the band stay (okay, perhaps not fairly that good however…). And the scenes outdoors the live performance footage are equally compelling. —Michael Dunaway and Bo Moore

10. Pink Floyd: Stay at Pompeii

Band: Pink Floyd 12 months: 1972 Director: Adrian Maben Stay at Pompeii hosts among the greatest performances from studio-rock pioneers Pink Floyd. However songs like “A Saucerful of Secrets and techniques,” “Echoes, Half 1” and “Cautious with That Axe, Eugene” are all performed with no viewers apart from the movie crew (and some youngsters who managed to sneak in and watch from a distance). The truth that the band simply so occurs to be taking part in on the web site of Roman town-city that was fully buried/destroyed after a volcanic eruption solely provides to the epic-ness. After its preliminary launch, the movie was lengthened with just a few further songs recorded in a Paris studio, lower to footage of scenes round Pompeii. We’d advocate the shorter non-theatrical model, launched on DVD in 2002. —Paste Workers

9. Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Youngsters

Artist: Justin Timberlake 12 months: 2016 Director: Jonathan Demme It turns into clear after just one music that Jonathan Demme was the proper individual to direct this ebullient efficiency doc. In Cease Making Sense Demme iconized David Byrne within the Large Swimsuit and demonstrated that the most effective performances of all time are merely a matter of precision, and he appears to grasp not solely what sort of performer Justin Timberlake is, however why. Filmed over the ultimate two nights of Timberlake’s 20/20 tour in Las Vegas, JT + the Tennessee Youngsters is so finely tuned, one could be exhausting pressed to pinch an oz of fats on this factor, Demme clearly realizing that Timberlake is determined by his monumental tour ensemble (launched briefly initially of the movie) to verify the entire present is a seamless, clockwork-like amalgam of transferring elements. Consummate professionals in thrall to consummate professionals: Every body, whether or not it hugs Timberlake’s glowing face shut or expands to show the intimidating breadth of the band, breathes with love—for the music, for the viewers, for one another. However that doesn’t even contact how flawlessly Demme can seize the essence of every part/music, how throughout “My Love” the digicam is positioned at stage degree, condensing our perspective in order that the entire stage is layered like a two-dimensional side-scrolling videogame or a diorama of paper dolls, emphasizing the celestial geometry of Timberlake and his pop-and-locking dancers. Later, throughout “Solely Once I Stroll Away,” Demme has the digicam behind the band, going through the viewers lit with lasers and lighters, taking pictures Timberlake as an opaque silhouette, like darkish matter amidst a flurry of constellations. Even later, a macroscopic view of the entire stage, set towards some retro pc graphics, pans barely right down to reveal a piano, and subsequent to that emerges a a lot bigger Timberlake, views skewed however steered with aplomb and goal. Similar to each single minute of this glorious movie. —Dom Sinacola

8. Wattstax

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Bands: Staple Singers, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes, extra 12 months: 1973 Director: Mel Stuart Memphis’ Stax Data staked its fortunes on the gloriously unfiltered sounds of the black South. In its ’60s heyday, the label gave the world a blast of seminal soul skills, together with Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and Carla Thomas, the faculty pupil whose early hits “Gee Whiz (Take a look at His Eyes)” and “B-A-B-Y” helped create the dominion the place Aretha Franklin would later reign as queen. The documentary Wattstax captured the label’s 1972 live performance in South Central Los Angeles, which benefited neighborhoods torn aside by the late-’60s riots. Modeled after Woodstock, the live performance—which drew greater than 100,000 to the Los Angeles Coliseum—stands as one Stax’s hallmark accomplishments. And whereas Wattstax got here after Stax had already misplaced lots of its signature skills—Redding died in a 1967 airplane crash, and Sam and Dave left the label as a consequence of contract dramas—there’s a lot right here to get pleasure from. Thomas nonetheless thrills together with her awe-filled girlish attraction. Issac Hayes performs “The Theme from Shaft” and “Soulsville.” The gospel-family outfit The Staple Singers ship three numbers, together with the chart-scaling “Respect Your self” and summing up the racial pleasure that was on the crux of the occasion. Wattstax works greatest as a sampling of the 2 impulses that got here collectively to create soul music, that uniquely African-American meld of the religious and secular. This set leans towards the sanctified facet, maybe as a result of Stax was creating a gospel imprint on the time. The Feelings, the household act that will ?nd its biggest success with “Boogie Wonderland,” supply an epic rendering of faith-in-hard-times staple “Peace Be Nonetheless”; Detroit’s Rance Allen, who sings like The Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks together with his shiny pants on ?re, blazes by way of “Mendacity on the Reality” together with his self-named group. —Craig Seymour

7. Inni

Band: Sigur Rós 12 months: 2011 Director: Vincent Morrisset Sigur Rós had already made Heima—their 2007 documentary that extra historically adopted the group touring round their house nation of Iceland. In 2008 in the direction of the top of the band’s tour behind Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, director Vincent Morisset obtained a name from the group’s administration asking him to movie what probably could be the group’s final performances on the Alexandra Palace in London earlier than their subsequent hiatus. In that context, Morisset wished to seize the expertise of Sigur Rós’ emotional and ethereal reveals because the band closed a chapter of their good profession collectively. Filming the concert events in HD was the simple half; extra laborious was transferring Inni to 16mm movie, then projected the analog pictures in a studio, the place Morisset re-recorded them as soon as extra, this time manipulating pictures to be able to create purposely-imperfect remaining product—a aware try to meet his imaginative and prescient. All through Inni, the filmmaker employed quite a lot of strategies to create the dreamy, summary visuals that seize the group’s stay essence. These results included putting fingers in entrance of the projectors, pulsating the picture to match musical rhythms, hand gashing and placing a salad bowl over the projector’s lens. In addition they experimented with the grading of the movie, mixing in a pearlescence into sure parts of the documentary, giving the predominantly black-and-white movie a slight blue-and-yellow tint. All of those post-production strategies give Inni a surrealistic really feel. It’s a stay movie that hardly conveys any element, showing prefer it may have been filmed at any level over the course of the previous century. All of those creative strategies add as much as actually replicate the movie’s title. “Inni,” actually which means “Inside,” gives a visceral look contained in the anatomy of a Sigur Rós efficiency, doing so with out ever instantly approaching the band. Morisset’s collection of spontaneous-but-mindful manufacturing transforms what would’ve been a typical run-of-the-mill stay movie into one that actually matches the topic’s personal power. —Max Blau

6. Women and Gents: The Rolling Stones

Band: The Rolling Stones 12 months: 1974 Director: Rollin Binzer In 1972, The Rolling Stones have been on the precipice of one of many many peaks of their lengthy profession. They’d simply launched Exile On Primary St., their masterpiece of heroin-dipped blues-rock and zonked soul and have been on the peak of their powers as a stay band. Which is what makes the 1974 live performance movie Women and Gents: The Rolling Stones such a vital doc. Filmed over the course of 4 nights throughout their U.S. tour, the film captures each little bit of the band’s sweaty, unflagging power. The Stones, augmented by horns and piano, have been at some extent the place they selected to disregard the poppier tunes that made them superstars amid the British Invasion, focusing as an alternative on the grittier, meatier work of the late ’60s and ’70s, together with a nasty model “Midnight Rambler” and a whipcracking tackle Chuck Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny.” —Robert Ham

5. Prince: Signal O’ the Instances

Artist: Prince 12 months: 1987 Director: Prince Prince’s 1987 live performance documentary is one hour and 24 minutes of a technology’s biggest musical performer on the peak of his profession (sorry, Boss). Together with his touring band that included Sheila E. on drums, Miko Weaver on guitar, Levi Seacer Jr. on bass, Eric Leeds on sax, Boni Boyer and Dr. Fink on keyboards, and Cat Glover dancing, the movie pulls principally from his 1987 double-album Signal O’ the Instances, with hits just like the title monitor, a piano interlude of “Little Crimson Corvette” and “U Acquired the Look.” It was filmed at two European reveals, however a lot of the music was re-recorded later at Paisley Park. Nonetheless, it has an urgency that solely Prince can ship, in a number of outfits, after all. Launched theatrically within the States, the movie obtained extra love after it left theaters. Now it’s the most effective methods to see what the massive deal is a couple of Prince live performance. —Josh Jackson

4. Monterey Pop

Bands: The Jimi Hendrix Expertise, Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, Eric Burdon & the Animals, The Who, Otis Redding, extra 12 months: 1968 Director: D.A. Pennebaker Directed by famed rock documentarian D. A. Pennebaker with assist from such luminaries as Albert Maysless, Richard Leacock, Brice Marden and Bob Neuwirth, Monterey Pop serves as a round-up of among the greatest performances from an important acts of the Nineteen Sixties. The 1967 Monterey Pop Competition hosted the notorious live performance the place Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fireplace as if performing the ritual of a voodoo shaman. The 14 performers embody Simon & Garfunkel taking part in “The 59th Road Bridge Track,” Hendrix taking part in “Wild Factor,” Otis Redding, Large Brother and the Holding Firm and Ravi Shankar. ABC initially put up $200,000 for manufacturing however declined to air it when community chief Thomas W. Moore noticed a clip of “Hendrix fornicating together with his amp,” in line with music producer Lou Adler. —Paste Workers

3. T.A.M.I. Present

Artists: The Seashore Boys, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Lesley Gore, Jan and Dean, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, extra 12 months: 1964 Director: Steve Binder The lone disadvantage to James Brown’s profession is that the Rock and Roll Corridor of Famer and Kennedy Heart Honors recipient was by no means actually given a chance to strut his stuff on the massive display. Certain, Dan Aykroyd gave him cameos in The Blues Brothers, Physician Detroit and Blues Brothers 2000, however the man who thought of Elvis an in depth good friend by no means bought—in all probability as a consequence of racism—a showcase like Jailhouse Rock. However Brown did have one epic silver-screen second. It was in 1964’s The T.A.M.I. Present, the primary rock live performance movie that includes such greats as The Seashore Boys, The Miracles, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and The Rolling Stones. Whether or not hurling himself to his knees or flashing footwork so quick the digicam may barely seize it, Brown’s impassioned medley of “Prisoner Of Love/Please Please Please” fully stole the present and drove the viewers to sheer delirium. (I’d pity the shell-shocked Stones, who had the daunting activity of following him, besides that Jagger’s been attempting to jack JB’s strikes ever since.) fittingly, it’s a efficiency for the ages by this age’s biggest performer. —Richard Torres

2. Cease Making Sense

Band: Speaking Heads 12 months: 1984 Director: Jonathan Demme This 1984 doc of the Speaking Heads’ tour in help of their greatest album so far (Talking in Tongues) is remembered largely for its unbelievable stay performances, captured by Demme and his crew, together with Blade Runner cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth. However it was Demme’s gambit to embrace the artifice of what he was filming in ways in which elevated it from a mere live performance doc to a creative assertion. There was no hiding the truth that the tape participant “used” by David Byrne to accompany him on “Psycho Killer” wasn’t miked up or amplified. And there was no approach to get lots of these tight closeups of Byrne and his backup singers throughout “What a Day That Was” with out doing reshoots. These are the belongings you consider after the actual fact, although. When you’re caught up within the grooves of “Girlfriend Is Higher” and “Take Me to the River”, the proper pacing and fluid digicam strikes put you proper within the eye of the twister that was the Heads’ touring band. —Robert Ham

1. The Final Waltz

Band: The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Younger, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, extra 12 months: 1978 Director: Martin Scorsese A disclaimer initially of the movie insists that “THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!” What follows is among the most unbelievable units of performances ever caught on movie. After 16 years on the highway, The Band determined to lastly say goodbye. Farewell concert events have turn into extraordinarily commonplace these days, and the farewell normally simply lasts till the artist/group decides they need extra money. However The Band knew learn how to say goodbye earlier than saying goodbye was cool. Held at The Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day, the viewers of 5,000 have been served Turkey dinners earlier than the ground was opened for ballroom dancing. For the precise efficiency, The Band invited a few of their “associates” to assist them flip the send-off right into a celebration, together with their first boss, Ronnie “The Hawk” Hawkins, and one in every of their most influential bosses, Bob Dylan. In between their former employers, the present featured performances from among the greatest names in music, together with Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Younger and plenty of extra. The entire affair was documented by Martin Scorsese. —Wyndham Wyeth

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