From The Last Waltz to Shine a Light, most concert movies leave me wishing for a more democratic, inclusive view — even if they’re not directed by Martin Scorsese. Instead of focusing on faces and fingers, I find myself longing for wide shots, audience shots, the view of the stage and crowd as a whole. The usual approach implies that the camera is somehow superior to the regular flesh-and-blood attendee because it has VIP access to the close-ups. But the concert isn’t just in the guitarist’s fingers, and in my experience, the best bands know how to make the music fit the space and all the people in it. At the very best shows, it doesn’t matter where your seats are, or if you’re standing half a mile away.
More than any other band I’ve seen, Phish completely owned any place they found themselves in, from sweaty pubs to summer sheds, hockey rinks, Indian reservations, abandoned military bases, Madison Square Garden, and the top of air traffic control towers. There’s ample proof of this in a motherlode of videos I stumbled upon last night.
Among the stash of 300+ handheld clips (think Awesome! I Fuckin’ Shot That!) uploaded by YouTube user silverchair97, I want to draw your attention to a few choice tunes that emphasize the spectacular lighting design by Chris Kuroda, famous for improvising along with the band on the light board and sometimes referred to by fans as CK5 — the fifth member of Phish. (Once upon a time in downtown Prague, Kuroda paid Marcy a compliment — but that’s a story for another post.)
Who needs closeups of Mick Jagger’s cracked face (or Bono in 3D) when you can feast your eyes on Kuroda’s work, which manages to meld the sound, the crowd, and the stage into an oozing vessel of rock’n roll that can be appreciated from any angle?
Also Sprach Zarathustra (as always, a cover of the Deodato disco version from the Being There soundtrack rather than the Richard Strauss original Kubrick used in 2001):
The Velvet Underground’s Rock’n Roll in two parts:
The alien mothership has landed in this infamous jam out of Twist, from the Island Tour:
.. and a few more after the jump…
The second half of Reba:
Carini, with an actual appearance by Carini:
Half of Weekapaug Groove, with Crosseyed & Painless tease (Talking Heads):
Halley’s Comet > Tweezer Reprise: