Just call me a little rock and roller, but I had a very tough time sitting still during this Martin Scorsese/Rolling Stones concert film. What I wanted to do, watching this behind the scenes and on the stage document of the Stones performance during Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday party bash in New York City, was to get up and dance.
A must for Stones fans, the performances here include classics, some lesser played material and celebrity duets. Thanks to the extraordinary cinematography of Robert Richardson, the film audience is brought very up close and personal with the veteran rockers. We can’t help but marvel at their endurance, especially as we see the craggy effects of their lives, contrasted with historical footage in which the boys look charmingly fresh and oh so young. It’s also kind of cool to see snippets of a current interview with Ron Woods and Keith Richards; a sit down with front man Mick Jagger is notably absent. But then again, with a saucy, snarly and all out performance on stage, maybe Mick is saying all he needs to say right there.
Where the real light is shown in this picture is in its first, pre-concert chapter. Scorsese, the filmmaker, is savvy enough to include a short and tantalizingly edited prequel, explaining how fly-by-the-pants this film had to be, thanks to the Stones’ schedule, the logistics of the Beacon theater, and, perhaps, by an ambivalence on the group’s part. But it is irresistible and maybe the most revealing part of this “Light” when the four “bad boys of rock” take to the stage for a meet and greet with the Clinton entourage. Seeing Keith’s sweet expression as he reaches to shake hands with Hilary Clinton’s aged mother is downright delicious. It is then that this film really shines: glowing in the love of politics, show business, film and The Rolling Stones.