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Concert Film

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A genre as old as the sound movie itself.note  Filming a concert by a musical artist, group or any other sort of performer(s) (comedians, acrobats, stage musicals,...) is essential for many entertainers. It shows off their skills and gives the fans who weren't able to watch a concert in person to get a grisp of the experience they missed. Audience Participation and a Concert Climax are also a huge part of these events. The concert film may be accompanied by a CD capturing the event for people who rather listen to it than watch it.

Concert films are sometimes considered a Cult Classic or a Cult Soundtrack, because the respective genre or artist is usually mostly interesting for fans themselves. Though a well made concert movie can also attract new fans. Concert films were popular during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when video footage of musical artists was pretty scarce since not many people owned a video recorder to watch and tape concert broadcasts from TV. The arrival of MTV and other music video networks in the 1980s shifted the focus more towards short music videos and less towards entire concerts. Since then most concert movies are usually sold direct-to-video.


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  • The trope maker for feature films is Concert Magic from 1948, featuring violinist Yehudi Mehunin. However, musical performances had been a frequent premise for short films for years. See Jammin' the Blues below.
  • Devotional (1993) by Depeche Mode which contains many of the tracks off their then latest album Songs of Faith and Devotion and many tracks off previous albums arranged in their manner of 1993.
  • Divine Madness (1980): Stars Bette Midler.
  • Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970) and Elvis on Tour (1972): The first film goes from rehearsals to opening night of one of his early Las Vegas hotel shows. The latter film (which included some editing work by Martin Scorsese) documents a tour in the Southern US.
  • The Grateful Dead Movie (1977): A document of the Grateful Dead's October 1974 "farewell shows", featuring an animated introduction and interviews with the band members between songs. The band took a break for all of 1975 and half of 1976, and intended roadshow screenings of the movie to replace them on the road in the interim. Due to editing issues, it wasn't released until June 1977, by which point they were already back out on tour.
  • Heima (2007): A documentary/concert movie about Sigur Rós.
  • How to Destroy Angels [Chicago] (2013): Fan-made but band-approved recording of How To Destroy Angels' live concert in Chicago, made by Nine Inch Nails fan organization This One Is On Us and the website NIN Live Archive.
  • I Am the Movie: The Movie (2014): Documentary starring Motion City Soundtrack, covering the recording of and touring for their first album, "I Am the Movie".
  • Jammin' the Blues (1944): Ten-minute short film of a jam session featuring a murderer's row of 1940s jazz musicians.
  • Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960): Jazz concert movie from 1958.
  • The Last Waltz (1978): Famous film of the last concert played by The Band (the original lineup anyway, as they later reunited). Featured an impressive array of guest stars that included Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan.
  • Life on the Murder Scene (2006): Starring My Chemical Romance, a multi-DVD set. The first DVD is a documentary video diary set covering the band's history up to that point and the second DVD features music videos/making-ofs from the Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge era and various live performances from shows, television, and online.
  • Live in Phoenix (2008): Concert film starring Fall Out Boy, featuring their 2007 Phoenix, Arizona performance during the Honda Civic Tour. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, making-of footage for the "I'm Like A Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You) video, and their From Under The Cork Tree to Infinity On High era videos.
  • Let It Be (1970): Part concert movie, part studio documentary starring The Beatles.
  • Live Aid (1985): 24 hours footage of many rock artists for the benefit of starving people in Ethiopia.
  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen (1970): Concert film depicting roots-rocker Joe Cocker's rushed tour in front of an oversized band.
  • Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009): Stars Michael Jackson during the recordings of what would have been his farewell tour, but never came about.
  • Monsieur Pointu (1975): A deeply odd stop-motion pixilation version. Paul Cormier, aka "Monsieur Pointu" the famous violinist, plays his violin while the visual effects grow increasingly bizarre.
  • Monterey Pop (1967): The first rock concert movie, filmed at Monterey Pop (1967).

  • The Louder Now DVD: PartOne (2006): Concert film/documentary starring Taking Back Sunday, featuring a 2006 performance in Long Beach, California. Followed by The Louder Now DVD: PartTwo, featuring footage from the same show.
  • My Heart Will Always Be The B-Side to My Tongue (2004): Documentary/live acoustic performances starring Fall Out Boy, covering the Take This to Your Grave era of the band. 2005's Clandestine Industries Presents: Release The Bats features documentary and live footage from Fall Out Boy and other related acts, most of which was cut from My Heart Will Always Be The B-Side to My Tongue. Largely infamous among fans for its Jackass style footage "deemed unfit" for the previous DVD release and the comedic short film featuring the band, "Bedussy".
  • Nine Inch Nails have released a few themselves.
    • And All That Could Have Been (2002), combining several shows from 2000's Fragility 2.0 tour to make it seem like a single concert (also released in a slightly shorter form as an album).
    • Beside You In Time (2007) for the 2006 With Teeth tour.
    • There were also plans to do a concert film for 2008's Lights In The Sky tour, but those fell through and Trent Reznor ended up releasing the footage to fans. This led to the formation of the fan organization This One Is On Us, who edited the footage and, along with fan-shot footage of the 2008 Las Vegas show, released it as Another Version Of The Truth (2009). This One Is On Us also produced a few other fan films, including for NIN's live performance of The Downward Spiral in its entirety.
  • 9 Songs (2004): Part Erotic Film, part concert movie featuring several British rock bands.
  • Parade (1974): A variation on the format as it is actually a filmed performance of a circus on an indoor stage. Conforms to the basic structure of a live recording of a show, however, and there are some musical acts.
  • Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972): Stars Pink Floyd performing at the Pompeii amphitheater to an audience of zero. Noted for its stylistic influences on later films in the genre and for its capture of the band in the waning days of their pre-The Dark Side of the Moon career.
  • Renaldo and Clara (1978): Bob Dylan's attempt at filmmaking is a four-hour hodgepodge of documentary and staged improvisational scenes, but is centered around extensive footage from the first leg of his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975.
  • FANDOM: LIVE IN THE UK (2020): Concert film starring Waterparks, directed by frontman Awsten Knight and band videographer Jawn Rocha. Filmed during the Birmingham, UK stop of the FANDOM Tour in January 2020. Intended as an "abstract" take on live concert films, the film eschews pure documentation of the night in favor of extensive color coding and visual effects, all handled by Rocha who was also the film's primary editor.
  • The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time! (1982): A documentary/concert film about the 1950s-'60s folk music group The Weavers and their 1980 reunion concert at Carnegie Hall. One of the main inspirations for the 2003 mockumentary A Mighty Wind.
  • When We Were Kings (1996): A sports documentary about the 1974 George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali bout held in Kinshasa, Zaire. As originally filmed, it was supposed to focus on the music festival that accompanied the fight, featuring the likes of James Brown and B.B. King performing alongside their local African contemporaries. After 20 years of Development Hell, the film was retooled to focus more on the fight, but the final cut still includes extensive footage of the musical performances.
  • Woodstock (1970): The most famous concert movie of all time. Shows every huge 1960s band and artist (well, apart from all of the obvious holdouts) and shows how the audience experienced it too.