Top 10 Concert Films to See Before You Die

Categories: Film

4. Jay-Z - Fade To Black

Showcasing what was supposed to be the Brooklyn-born rapper's final concert, this would have been the perfect send-off for Hova. Featuring some of the superstars and not-so-biggest names in hip-hop and R&B, the concert itself was a spectacle and cemented the rapper as the best at his craft.

3. Woodstock

Perhaps THE definitive film from the '60s, the festival that defined a generation has all of the ingredients of a great concert film, even though they may not have realized it when the first rolled tape. Memorable moments from greats like Janis Joplin, The Who, Sly and the Family Stone are as fiery as they were on those rainy August days, but it is Hendrix's legendary rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that cements this as the essential document in rock history.

2. Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense

Directed by Jonathan Demme, this film captured the Talking Heads at their creative peak. Beginning with frontman David Byrne (whose big suit is almost as famous as the film itself), who walks on-stage with only a boom box and acoustic guitar before gradually adding layers, dancers, instruments and eventually bandmembers. Other innovations include its unusual lighting methods, minimal audience shots and lack of close-ups on the bands. In a time when MTV was a kingmaker, this movie reminded fans that it was possible to create a superior visual product, as long as the music measured up to the task.

See also: David Byrne and St. Vincent - Williamsburg Park - 9/29/2012

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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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