Shine a Light
By Raoul Hernandez,
3:18PM, Fri. Apr. 4, 2008
Flashback number one occurred during the third song of Shine a Light, “She Was Hot,” second single off 1983’s Undercover.
Four shows from the European leg of the Rolling Stones' 2005/2006 Bigger Bang tour hadn’t produced such a nugget, but two weeks after the band’s razing of Austin’s Zilker Park (10.22.06), they pulled it out at the Oakland Coliseum. A song long dismissed save perhaps for its equally forgotten slapstick clip running many cable lifetimes ago on Night Flight, live it sent me scrambling back to Undercover. Sure enough: Keith Richards gnaws its Chuck Berry bramble and spits out barbwire. Martin Scorsese blows the shoot in Shine a Light, staying on Mick Jagger when his 18 cameras should be zeroing in on Richards and Ronnie Wood, but no matter. On the Shine a Light soundtrack, it proves itself fraternal twin to Zilker Park freezer burn “She’s So Cold.”
Three songs later, Shine a Light pulls out “Some Girls,” another Oakland jolt from my lifetime Stones stalk, only this one from 1999, opening night of the No Security tour. We had shitty seats, but when the boys produced “Shine a Light” and the whole indoor arena sang it with the house lights on, Exile on Main Street rang rebirth not dissolution. “Shine a Light” holds its lighter aloft only over the film’s end credits roll – live – but on the 2-CD version of the soundtrack, its bonhomie unfurls cocktails before the Last Supper.
“Faraway Eyes” rednecks just after “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” half the Some Girls contingent of the Shine a Light set-list. Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre, hosting an act and album as native as “people dressed in plastic bags directing traffic” (No. 2 opener “Shattered”), could probably fit inside San Antonio’s Alamodome, where Voodoo Lounge dissipated in the face of Ronnie’s lap-steel on “Faraway Eyes” in 1994. “You Got the Silver,” another country-encrusted Stones intimate – forever Richards' finest moment at the mic – also bowed for me on the No Security tour, in Oklahoma, where lysergic disbelief left me perched on Margaret Moser’s shoulder like a spooked chinchilla. Its author’s guitarless delivery in Shine a Light preserves the Let it Bleed tourniquet for the ages. Keef’s “Connection,” which Scorsese ruins by editing in otherwise giddy archival footage, dialed up another Oakland 2006 delight.
In the film, Jagger exclaims, “We got to go to San Francisco” at the fireworks portion of “Brown Sugar,” but he really means that Oakland date, which fell just after the two Beacon performances and of course Austin, which gets name-checked in Shine a Light as the singer juggles set-lists. Slating Zilker Park for the Biggest Bang DVD meant Jagger couldn’t have too much overlap between Austin’s tumble and the Big Apple’s bite.
Final flashback comes courtesy of the deluxe Shine a Light disc, which appends three bonus cuts not seen in the movie in addition to its title track: “Paint It Black.” Demanded but not ripped open on 1970’s Get Yet Ya-Ya’s Out, a devilishly blackhearted version of the séance landed on Steel Wheels live souvenir Flashpoint, which also offered single-disc and 2-CD packages. As with Flashpoint, the Shine a Light soundtrack preserves its verve raw and immediate, same as Scorsese’s 122 minutes of rock & roll history. At our parking lot afterparty outside the Bob Bullock IMAX theater, where Shine a Light opens today, my buddies and I agreed. In years to come when Shine a Light lives on in its DVD, we’ll remember Monday night’s press screening as the second time the Rolling Stones demonstrated to Austin firsthand why this planet will be a cold lonely stone when they’re extinct.