Those of you following me on Twitter might have noticed I recently picked up a copy of Wattstax. Watching that got me thinking about all the other great concert films out there so I thought I’d share my top 5:
I was playing drums in an indie pop/rock trio when I first saw this on DVD. Darren Jessee’s performance inspired me to learn how to sing and more importiantly inspired the other guys in my band to take the time to teach me to sing. Here’s a clip from the DVD of a tune called Kate:
In the interest of full disclosure I must point out that I play in a Frank Zappa cover band, so I feel somewhat obligated to put one of Zappa’s films in my top 5. Baby Snakes bills itself as “a movie about people who do stuff that is not normal” and it certainly stands up to that. It captures Zappa, his music, his band, and his fans in all their absurdity. It was hard to find a clip that wasn’t borderline inappropriate but this one should suffice:
The Band plays their last show with an allstar lineup of guest musicians like Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Staple Singers, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, and quite a few more directed by Martin Scorsese and promoted by Bill Graham. How could it be much better?
Talking Heads are at the top of their game, musically and artistically with this unbelievably great concert.
Wattstax not only showcases great music from Stax artists like The Staple Singers, The Bar-Kays, Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes, etc. but also gives you a dose of comedy from Richard Pryor and social commentary from the people of Watts, CA. It takes the concept of a concert film to a whole new level.
There are tons of other great concert films out there. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments.