Music is the food of life

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 May, 2008, 12:00am

A good concert movie is about capturing the right moments: moments of ecstasy, of surly youth and of a rocker's cocky belief that he can defy old age death as long as he keeps hitting the right notes.

And members of The Rolling Stones, the dinosaurs of rock 'n' roll, appear to believe they can live forever given the performance captured in Martin Scorsese's high profile concert movie Shine A Light.

Mick Jagger, the frontman of the band, acts like a hyperactive eight-year-old troublemaker throughout the concert, even though he is nearly 65 and a grandfather of three.

On stage, his vocals and body language are bubbly, frantic and infectious. He mesmerises and electrifies the crowd the moment he enters the stage singing Jumpin' Jack Flash and Shattered, the two energetic concert openers. Some people are born to be entertainers, and Jagger is definitely one of them.

You can almost feel New York City's Beacon Theatre, where the Stones performed their A Bigger Bang tour, shake as Jagger twists and shouts his way through song after song, teasing and bewitching regular Joes and big shots (the Clintons are in the audience) alike.

Jagger gives every ounce of energy to songs, and there are moments when you think he is going to drop dead from exhaustion. After so many years on the road, how can the band continue?

Yet for the Stones, music is like a drug. The more they do it, the longer they live.

Just look it Jagger's long-time partner, guitarist Keith Richards, who looks like a man possessed in the middle of a song. One of the most beautiful shots in the movie involves him spitting out a cigarette with the rage and arrogance of an affronted man who is ready to claim the world.

Thanks to Scorsese's wonderful crew of cinematographers who captured almost every detail of the concert, that single moment tells us almost everything there is to know about rock 'n' roll.

Another highlight of the movie is the band's performance of Champagne & Reefer, an old Muddy Waters number, with Buddy Guy, the legendary American blues and rock guitarist and singer. It is a sublime rendition, during which the facial expressions of the musicians confirm your suspicions that these men live and breathe music. They are music.

Scorsese once said in an interview that his debt to the Stones was 'incalculable' as their music had always been an inspiration to his movies, especially Mean Streets.

Shine A Light is therefore not just a documentary but also a love letter. It is the perfect marriage of cinema and music, of a devoted filmmaker and four dedicated rockers.

Start them up, and they will never stop.

We have six pairs of HK$10 discount coupons for Shine A Light screenings. E-mail your name and address to to win.