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Is It Live, or Is It Multiplex?

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | November 12, 2009 |

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | November 12, 2009 |

Despite being a documentary enthusiast in general, I’ve never been too fond of concert films. For me to be interested, they must have some sort of significance outside of being the visual record of a random show. For example, Woodstock is great for documenting an historical event, Gimme Shelter is interesting for capturing a tragedy on camera and 9 Songs is cool for giving us hardcore sex in between each of its concert performances. More recently, This Is It allowed MJ fans to see the king of pop in his final appearance (unless you count the inevitable DirecTV ads mined from a Moonwalker scene and featuring Joe Pesci hawking satellite television).

And then there’s the new 3-D concert films, which I have to say were kind of neat at first. I’d never go see U2 in concert, yet I was wowed by the novelty of U2 3D. But news that This Is It producers AEG Live plan to bring us more and more 3-D concert films, featuring artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Ben Harper and Gogol Bordello, has me wondering if there’s a real desire for this genre, particularly with the 3-D aspect, to explode and saturate the multiplex. Apparently, AEG already has footage of 56 different artists and is looking to triple that for releases next year.

Sure, I haven’t really been into live music since burning out on and leaving the ska scene a decade ago (so many bands, so many shows!), so perhaps I’m just not the audience for these films. Of course, I figure most real live music enthusiasts would rather just go see a real show or concert than watch most of these films.

I’m curious, though, and it’s a slow day as far as movie news goes, so in lieu of having real, trend-qualifying blog representation below, I’d like to hear readers’ opinions on the idea of 3-D concert films and what artists you think would best be worth the experience. Personally, I think a 3-D Gwar movie would be cool for those of us who never wanted to get messy at one of their shows.

  • Jenni Miller at Cinematical:
    “I think it’s a cool idea to offer people the chance to see their favorite bands up close and personal if they can’t see them live, but there isn’t anything to rival the actual live experience. Granted, you’re not usually that close to the stage and some jerk just spilled beer on your shoes and someone else is singing along to every song and/or shouting “WOO!” in your ear, but that’s all part of the concert experience, right?”
  • Russ Fischer at /Film:
    “Part of the reason I skipped U2 3D is that I don’t understand the appeal of projects like this. But I’ve been fortunate enough to live places where I can see small, intimate shows; seeing a huge arena concert is distant enough, but a filmed version? Not really for me. […] (Then again, one of my favorite aspects of seeing shows in small venues is being able to see musicians interacting as they perform, and these 3D documents may be great for getting that across. So I might be converted…)”

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