Docs That Rock

Listmania: 10 best concert films

I’m obviously still having some trouble with my incoming links because I missed this thoughtful post on Jim Harrington’s Concert Blog. He tries to establish a methodology for ranking concert films, a genre he says has “few keepers.” But I’m at odds with his restricting titles only to the big screen. Straight-to-DVD and Internet concert flicks should be worthy of consideration, because its awfully hard to amass a screen-worthy audience these days because of so many, such diverse musical acts (liberated, I should say, from the narrow bottleneck of big screens, radio and mass retail.) It’s a good thing and we should scour all distribution outlets for quality films. And just because there hasn’t been an amazing ones yet worthy of canonizing doesn’t mean they should be excluded.

Also, he says concert films may only document a single event. Yet he includes multi-night runs and festivals, but not tours. (This disqualifies Phish’s Bittersweet Motel, Neil Young’s Year of the Horse and the Stones’ Gimme Shelter.) For me, I think the criterion is whether a film is mostly performance or narrative.

Griping aside, here are Jim’s picks…nice to see that two of them (Awesome: I…Shot That! and Fade to Black) we acquired for TV to run under our VH1 Rock Docs banner.

  1. Stop Making Sense (1984)
  2. Awesome, I . . . Shot That! (2006)
  3. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture (1973)
  4. The Last Waltz (1978)
  5. The Grateful Dead Movie (1977)
  6. Rock the Bells (2007)
  7. Monterey Pop (1968)
  8. Fade to Black (2004)
  9. The Song Remains the Same (1976)
  10. Jimi Plays Berkeley (1971)

May 23, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Maybe it doesn’t quite qualify for this list, but I really love Some Kind of Monster – it’s kind of wierd to think about the various sub-genres you can parse films with music and musicians into… I really enjoy music films that look into the process of creating.

    How about Bluegrass Journey? That’s mostly concert and totally fabulous.

    Comment by Agnes Varnum | May 30, 2008 | Reply

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