Scorsese films a Stones concert! And it’s as far away from a concert film as – well, a Scorsese film. Just a few intelligent interludes of 60s and 70s shots showing the band maturing: the rest of it’s just the footage from a single concert in New York.
What sets this film apart is the detail. You can see the sweat on Keef’s guitar, the veins in Mick’s neck. Most of all you can tell how different the personalities of the Stones are – and why they’ve been together so long. They’re just having a great time hanging out.
Jagger: the practiced showman, well-rehearsed and everything calculated. Ronnie Wood: grateful to be there, the uncool one. Charlie Watts: physically looking the youngest, yet seems by far the most tired of it all, huffing and puffing his way through the drum sections. And ‘Keef’: the court jester, just doing his own thing, miming Jagger behind his back, and Widow Twankeying the audience. (Every time he manages a good chord he chortles down at his guitar, thinking “Cor! Did I do that?!!”)
It’s still a movie rather than a film. Scorsese very obviously made sure there were no old or ugly people near the front rows (except Keef, of course.) But the overall impression is much closer to being at a concert than watching a movie. There’s no actual standing in the aisles dancing (not the done thing at Warwick Arts Centre) but there’s a definite vibe and shared understanding among the audience. We’re stoned.