Even if you have already seen Shine A Light in a theater, there is an upcoming DVD/Blu-ray package slated for release that is still worthy of buying. So you think you’ve seen the Light? Think again.
When Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones concert documentary Shine A Light was released on April 4, its theatrical run in both Imax and conventional theaters was limited to a select number of theaters due to its documentary format. Therefore, countless fans still have not yet seen this critically acclaimed film, documenting performances from the largest grossing concert tour of all time. However, they will finally be able to do so when Shine A Light is released on DVD/Blu-ray on July 29.
Because I had seen Shine A Light prior to its theatrical release, and had written reviews on it, in addition to the fact I had both attended and written extensively about the Rolling Stones press conference that was held in New York for the film, and I had interviewed the Rolling Stones on the red carpet (which was actually black) at the NY premiere, I wanted to go full circle, and review what is in the DVD package, aside from what is included in it that was seen in its theatrical release. Therefore, the focus here will be on the package’s added features, because I have already reviewed the theatrical release it contains.
Already having this DVD/Blu-ray package, it is apparent that its Special Features create a sequel to the theatrical release. Parts of the Featurette leave you thinking, “Don’t stop” when they end, and a few of them could segue into new films of their own.
The entirety of Shine A Light is the predominate feature included in the retail package that is slated for release by Paramount Home Entertainment. Filmed at the shows that were held at New York’s Beacon Theatre from the Bigger Bang shows on October 29 and November 1, 2006, with direction from Scorsese, whose numerous credits include No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Kundun, The Departed, Casino, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull, several award–winning cinematographers captured the band on stage, including Robert Richardson (The Aviator), Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood), Andrew Lesnie (Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship Of the Rings), John Toll (Legends Of the Fall), Ellen Kuras (Summer of Sam), Stuart Dryburgh (The Piano), and Declan Quinn (Leaving Las Vegas).
The DVD is widescreen enhanced, and features Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, plus subtitles in English, French and Spanish. The Blu-ray offers 1080p high definition, English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and English 5.1 DTS Master Audio and English, English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles. This will mark the first time a Stones concert film has been released in High Def on Blu-ray.
In addition to the film Shine A Light, there are also four bonus songs in HD, performed in their entirety, starting with “Paint It, Black.” While the credits on the disc do not include a comma in the song’s title, I have a penchant for including one here, as its original release that topped both the British and American charts in 1966 contained one. At one point during the song’s performance, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is seen kneeling, with one knee one the stage, as he plays guitar. The way in which Richards emotes during his playing is as singular, and as expressive as Chuck Berry doing his duck walk. No one does Chuck better than Chuck, and as we have seen for over forty years, no one does Keith Richards better than Richards, whether it is when he is playing or when he is not.
The band’s rendition of Richards’ “Little T&A” is also among the full live performance bonus tracks, not seen in the theatrically released film. “Tits and ass with soul,” “The little bitch got soul,” he sings, with an added kick that comes from a short vamp, courtesy of Stones bassist Darryl Jones. This is one of the tracks in which more footage is seen of backup singers Bernard Fowler, Lisa Fischer and Blondie Chaplin. The rest of the musicians in band are also intermittently seen throughout the added features.
The third bonus performance, “I’m Free,” witnesses Jagger dancing on stage, as the rest of the band plays. With keyboardist Chuck Leavell counting, “One, two,” the band breaks into the fourth bonus track, “Undercover Of The Night,” on which Jagger plays his Fender Telecaster.
The Supplemental Featurette section features additional newsreel footage that was not included in the theatrical version of the film. It continues to show a parade of hopelessly inept, pathetic interviews the band is subjected to doing on a constant basis. The ironies are glaringly obvious (at least to some of us), but these moments still manage to provide great entertainment due to their utter stupidity.
Here is one such exchange from 1973:
Interviewer: “There’s in England, kind of an underground talk about people that are expected to die soon.”
Richards: “I’m on the list.”
Interviewer: “You have taken the number one position on the list on there.”
Richards (irritated, barely concealing his contempt): “Great. Okay, I’ll let you know.”
Stupid questions still plague the band to this day, and it dawns on the viewer that an entire film could be made, consisting entirely of stupid questions people ask the Stones, and how they respond.
The Featurette also includes guitarist Ronnie Wood, stating that Eric Clapton had told him, “I could have had your job.” Woody notes that he responded to Clapton by saying, “But Eric, you’ve got to live with them. You’ve got to be able to live with these people.”
There is ample footage of Mick Jagger. As a result, we revisit some of his many incarnations, reflecting numerous trends and fashions from various periods of the band’s career.
Drummer Charlie Watts says he’s happier at home than on the road, and he has a discussion with Scorsese about wardrobe.
Blues legend Buddy Guy discusses his first having met the Stones at Chess Studios in Chicago, when he was recording “My Time After A While.” Guy recalls, “I am like, ‘who is that?” Guy goes on to explain how it came about that he began answering to the name “Motherfucker.” This is another segue, a prefect vignette, where an entire new film could begin.
There is also rehearsal footage of “Wild Horses,” featuring Jagger on harp, and rehearsal footage of “Factory Girl.”
There is more of President Clinton with the Secret Service, from the October 29 show, ending his “birthday celebration,” although he was born on August 19. He describes his having been given the opportunity to hold a fundraiser there as one of his birthday presents. Reference is also made to the seating provisions for his sixty guests who will be attending the show.
In part of the DVD’s main feature, Shine A Light, Richards is seen wearing a red and silver pirate pin, a skull with crossed swords. It was a gift to him for his performance in Pirates Of the Caribbean: At World’s End. It is seen on his long black jacket as he performs “You Got The Silver.” As it turns out, in the Supplemental Featurette, there is a scene, presumably during a break of some sort, where Richards is alone on stage, engaged in his thoughts, and playing guitar. What he was playing sounded familiar. After an immediate second listen, I realized it was “Only Found Out Yesterday,” the same song Richards plays in Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, in his role of Captain Teague.
The words from the song’s title, “Only found out yesterday,” are also lyrics heard in his heartfelt track “Thru And Thru,” from the Voodoo Lounge album. There is also part of the melody line that is reminiscent of that song, as well.
What is the connection with the line “Only Found Out Yesterday?” Well, there’s an interview question that no one has asked yet.
PHYLLIS POLLACK lives in Los Angeles where she is a publicist and music journalist. She can be reached through her blog.