Top 10 Concert Films to See Before You Die

Categories: Film

By Daniel Kohn

For music fans, there's nothing better than seeing your favorite band or checking out an up-and-coming act in person. While the records serve as a tangible finished product that fans can jam on until eternity, the live show experience explains more about a band than their recorded work. With concert prices soaring to astronomical prices, it's understandable if people are staying home. That's why the concert movie/DVD/Blu Ray has become so vital for a band's popularity.

For people who can't afford to see a show, the concert movie serves as a way to take in the action without all the strange smells that inhabit the floor section of the arena. With the number of concert films on the rise, we decided to take a look at our favorites from over the years. While the list is clearly subjective, the one common link is that the music and the cinematography both rock.

Honorable Mention: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - International Magic Live at The O2:

Though the chief songwriter behind Oasis went solo, from a technical perspective, this show was pretty tight. There wasn't much on the showmanship side but from a technical perspective, this is a no-frills rock show without the pomp and circumstance of a major gig, and that's just fine.

10. U2 - Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky

Capturing a band on the rise is one thing; seeing them heading towards superstardom is an entirely different beast. Live at Red Rocks showed the Irish rockers at their explosive best, culminating during the iconic "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and foreshadowed how big of a force they'd become in the coming years.

9. Beastie Boys - Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!

On their last proper concert tour, 50 camcorders were given to audience members at the Beastie's Madison Square Garden show. What you have here is different views of the same thing, which was as innovative as it was badass.

See also: Clip Job: The Voice's First Impressions Of The Beastie Boys' Back Catalog

8. Rolling Stones - Shine a Light

Although they look haggard and ragged, this film, which is directed by concert movie king Martin Scorsese, shows how gracefully the Stones have aged (at least musically) through the years. Add special guests like Jack White, Buddy Guy and (believe it or not), Christina Aguilera to that mix, and you got yourself the definitive concert of the band's latter years.

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JPMcMahon topcommenter

Wattstax,  Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, Festival Express (admittedly from several shows),  Pink Floyd - Live At Pompeii,  Rust Never Sleeps, Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Gimme Shelter.

Some personal faves: Shut Up and Play the Hits! (Pretty amazing.), It's Alive! DVD (Great footage from  a LOT of Ramones concerts, including a full set from the US Festival.), Rammstein: Live aus Berlin (Completely over the top. and rocking extremely hard.), and Deep Purple Live in California 1974 is worth it just to see the shots from behind Ritchie Blackmore while he shreds in front of what seems to be about half the population of Southern California.


Great list. As for the Stones, the record of their 1972 American Tour, Ladies And Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones captures them at their performing peak. Listen to those Mick Taylor solos!

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