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The Top 8 Concert Films of All Time

Oct. 25 12:20 AM by De_Blenniss

Sometimes you can't afford the ticket for the ultimate concert, sometimes your too young to witness a band yourself, sometimes your too screwed up to remember any of it. Luckily there was a camera crew at the following concerts filming these performances for the future generations to enjoy.

8- Awesome! I Fucking Shot That...

This is the most current film on the list and is bound to be a classic. Giving the audience camcorders and telling them to shoot whatever they want, The Beastie Boys created a well oiled visual trip with precision editing and sound mixing. Playing in their hometown of New York City the Three Mcs and One DJ get the crowd pumped and never look back. After filming the movie, the Beasties saved all the reciepts and returned all but a few cameras to cut back on the cost. Low budget filmmaking at its finest.

Highlights: Hello Brooklyn, Intergalactic, Triple Trouble


7- Rock and Roll Circus

It was a toss up between this and Gimme Shelter, but I figured seeing some one get stabbed once is enough. Originally developed for the BBC, The Rock and Roll Circus feature the Rolling Stones with over six musical guests including Eric Clapton, John Lennon and Yoko, and The Who. The production was pulled by the Stones before it aired because of their lack luster performence due to exhaustion. Many claim that it was because The Who had upstaged them because they had recently been on tour. See for your self.

Highlights: A Quick One While He's Away, Sympathy for the Devil

6- Monterey Pop Festiva

When it comes to making rockumentries D.A. Pennebaker has made more than his fair share. He's directed Down From the Mountain, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Dont Look Back and 1968s Monterey Pop. Featuring performances by The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who, Kimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Simon and Garfunkel, and many more. The cinema verite style of Pennebaker puts the viewer front and center of one of rocks most legendary performances. You can even smell the patchouli oil!

Highlights: My Generation, Wild Thing, Ball & Chain

5- Royal Albert Hall- Led Zeppelin

This performance can be found on the first disc of the How The West was Won DVD. The performance is a revelation and provides an intimacy that has never been matched by any other Zep DVD. Performing after the release of their second album and relishing in the success of their first hit record Whole Lotta Love, Zeppelin is on fire and blazes through some of the most raw and heartfelt blues ever put on film. If you have a surround sound system and you hate your neighbors turn on the drum solo during Moby Dick. They might move out of the country.

Highlights: We're Gonna Grove, Dazed and Confused, Moby Dick

4- Woodstock

I know, I know, I know... its so cliche to put this on the list but what an amazing document of an amazing moment in history. Filled with performances ranging from Sha Na Na to the Hendrix, this film is more of a document of the people who made the moment happen than the performances in general. Clocking in at over three hours, the film is an exhausting excursion in the peace and love movement. We can also be thankful for this film giving Martin Scorsese his first break into the cinema world as he was an assistant editor in post production.

Highlights: Freedom, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Voodoo Chile

3- Live at Pompeii

It is to be assumed that around the time of making this concert film Pink Floyd had a band meeting and asked Whats the weirdest way to record a live concert?. How about with no audience? Even better! How about in a town buried from a volcano! Filmed by a french documentry crew, Floyd's Live at Pompeii is one of the most mind boggling yet enjoyable concerts ever released. The film goes from cheesy 70s camera effects and performance pieces to a behind the scenes look at the creation of their next album which is Dark Side of the Moon. On the current DVD release you have the option to watch a new version of the film, or the 70s classic... it would be in your best intrest to stick with the classic.

Highlights: One of These Days, Echoes, Careful with that Axe Eugene

2- The Last Waltz

Filmed on Thanksgiving Day 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom, The Band put on one last concert and brought along some of their favorite musician friends for the ride. Martin Scorsese and his crew filmed the performance in glorious 35mm making this film one of the finest concert films ever filmed. The energy of the show comes through with every performace and the guest stars come rolling in left and right to bid The Band their proper farewell. Guest artists include Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dr. John, and Neil Young (with a rock of cocaine stuck on the inside of his nostral). I'm not kidding about the cocaine.

Highlights: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up On Cripple Creek, The Weight

1- Stop Making Sense

Created in 1984, The Talking Head's concert film Stop Making Sense is unlike any other concert film before it. The film starts with one member of the band playing acoustic and gradually throughout the film other members of the band are introduced by being wheeled out by stage hands making the full ensamble. This stage production was made for film, creating a completely visual experience for the audience and making the viewer feel like they are in the crowd by limiting audience noise on the soundtrack and never cutting to the crowd until the end of the film. The band puts their art school reputations to the forefront with over sized suits, various repetitive flashes of images and words, and a dance sequence involving a lamp. Over the top yet never too bizarre this film makes the 80s seem a bit more credible than most can remember.

Highlights: Naive Melody, Life During War Time, Pyscho Killer, Girlfriend is Better

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I like "Meeting People is Easy" from Radiohead, but that's not really a concert film.


I scrolled down to see Pink Floyd as #3 and was like "how the h*** is that not #1 ?!?!" Then I scrolled down a bit more and saw The Last Waltz and said "ok, but how is THAT not #1 ?!?!" Then I scrolled down farther and said .."oh yeah..."

Great list.



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