Top 5 Classic Rock Concert Films
By: Adam Kujawski
9/30/2013

With all of the buzz surrounding Metallica’s new 3D concert experience, Metallica: Through the Never, we’ve decided to take a look back at the films that inspired such projects in the first place. Check out our list of the Top 5 Classic Rock Concert Films and let us know what you think!

1.  Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same

The Song Remains the Same is a 1976 live film featuring the one and only, Led Zeppelin.  The band was recorded during a concert at Madison Square Garden, and both music and theater were incorporated into the film.  As the music of Zeppelin plays, each band member can be seen living in a separate fantasy world with the intention of giving insight into the personalities of the musicians.

2.  The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter

The free concert at Altamont Speedway was considered by many to be the Woodstock of the west coast.  Nearly 300,000 fans came to see the Rolling Stones perform alongside numerous other bands.  Gimme Shelter documents the entire event, including the tragedy brought about by a stabbing involving a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang.  The whole ordeal was caught on tape and Altamont became synonymous with the Hell’s Angels incident.

3.   Various – Concert for George

Exactly one year to the day after former Beatles guitarist George Harrison passed away, his friends and mentors organized a concert in his honor.  On November 29, 2002, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the living Beatles members, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, took to the stage and performed Harrison’s music.  In addition to the star-studded lineup, Tom Hanks and the Monty Python crew made guest appearances and acted out Harrison’s favorite skits onstage in recognition of his goofy sense of humor.

4.  Pink Floyd – Live at Pompeii

In 1972, Pink Floyd hatched a unique idea to record a live performance at an abandoned amphitheater in Pompeii, Italy.  The venue was chosen due to its favorable acoustics, and the band agreed it complimented their songs nicely.  Another element that made Live at Pompeii different was that there was no audience, as the producers felt it was best to focus solely on the music rather than inviting throngs of fans to attend.

5.  The Band – The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz marked The Band’s final concert performance after 16 years on the road.  The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and highlighted The Band’s most iconic songs. The Last Waltz also featured big-name guests like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton and Neil Diamond, all of whom either collaborated or toured with The Band at some point in their career.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Various - Woodstock
  • Various - Monterey Pop
  • George Harrison - Concert for Bangledesh
  • Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense

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