Performance Terror Revisited: Shine a Light!


If you get a chance to go see the new Rolling Stones movie directed by Martin Scorcese, get out and do it. If you have any interest in performing magic before a live paying audience, you’ll find this film quite illuminating.

Besides seeing the band in a way never possible before, you’ll get to watch Mick, Keith, Ronnie, Charlie and Martin preparing for a long evening’s work.

Pay close attention to the sound check and presidential meet and greet. Mick is so uncomfortable about the number of cameras onstage and in the crowd, he can’t help mentioning it to Bill Clinton. Jagger worries that so many cameras will ruin the energy of the crowd. Bill isn’t worried about the cameras. Bill doesn’t have to rock. He’s only the MC.


The Hollywood Bowl: As you can see, it’s really too intimate for the Stones


Why is Mick worried?

The Beacon theatre is TINY by Rolling Stones standards – 2800 seats. I’ve seen the Stones play big rooms, like RFK Stadium in D.C., and relatively intimate rooms like the Hollywood Bowl, with only 20 something thousand seats.  For the Rolling Stones, playing the Beacon Theatre is like Copperfield playing the close-up room at the Magic Castle.

Mick Jagger really doesn’t need to worry about whether he’ll get a strong reaction in a 3,000 seat venue. But like any entertainer who cares about his work, he frets about any little thing that can spoil the crowd – even a little crowd.

And that’s just one of the things you can learn from watching this intimate film about one of the least intimate bands of all time.

Try and see the film in IMAX if you can. Much will be lost on a little screen.  And as Scorsese suggests at the beginning of his first great rock and roll film The Last Waltz, make sure you watch this  movie LOUD!

Your Turn

What did YOU get out of Shine the Light?  Go see it, then let me know!


4 Responses to “Performance Terror Revisited: Shine a Light!”

  1. 1 Tony T April 15, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Aaron – thanks as I’ve heard good things about the film.

    The point about Jagger’s concern with too many distractions I think drives home how most real professionals are so focused on delivering what the fan/customer/audience is paying for regardless of the situation.

    Mick’s been around long enough to know their fans pay to see them jam not get filmed. At this point in their career it’s not like they have to prove themselves yet he still knows what got them there……delivering what the consumer is expecting.

    BTW I always thought if the comic strip Bloom County ever made the jump to film, Keith Richards should play Bill the Cat!

  2. 2 aaronfishermagic April 15, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Hey Tony –

    I think that Bill probably WAS Keith Richards. I sort of thought that was the whole point.

    Excellent Point Sir!


  3. 3 aaronfishermagic April 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Hey Tony –

    I think that Bill probably WAS Keith Richards. I sort of thought that was the whole point.

    Excellent Point Sir!


  4. 4 Victor Berlin April 17, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Hi Aaron,

    thanks for this nice text, i remember the time you where in Berlin for a lecture and we talked about the Stones …

    Do you plan visit Berlin again ? I saw you last time in the castle …

    BTW: thanks a lot for your nice stuff and ideas …


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