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Blu-ray Review: Shine a Light

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Very few bands have the ability to remain relevant through the release of their first singles let alone for more than four decades. Yet here we are, still enjoying the musical genius that is The Rolling Stones. In this age of electronic, over produced, synthesized garbage, it's great to see that old-fashioned rock and roll still remains the truest form of expression that can still be appreciated by the masses.

Shine a Light, a concert film with lots of behind the scenes footage, provides a fairly odd set list of songs, one that isn't chock full of the hits and singles. These are not tracks that many casual followers would recognize, but instead consist of songs that true fans of The Rolling Stones know and love.

Along with the quirky song choices, the concert also provides some amazing guests, including Jack White (The White Stripes), Christina Aguilera, Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong (of Motown fame), and Chicago Blues legend Buddy Guy who covers the Muddy Waters tune “Champagne & Reefer.” Along with these collaborations, you also get to see former president Bill Clinton rocking out in the crowd. Then, during the credits you’ll get an acoustic version of the often covered “Wild Horses” along with the Keith Richards tune “Only Found Out Yesterday.”

The film starts out with an introduction of the band as well as a look at what goes into preparing to capture something on this scale (setting up IMAX cameras, sound equipment, and lights). You even get to see Martin Scorsese himself trying to get some of the set list changed. Along with that, the film also has historical news clips and past interviews with the band members.

This Blu-ray release is a worthwhile addition to any music aficionado or fan of The Rolling Stones' collection.  However, if you are simply looking for a chance to have The Stones play in your living room, you may be a bit disappointed with interruption of some of the concert footage.

Shot for IMAX, the absurdly high resolution offered by the format transfers remarkably well to Blu-ray. The opening scenes have a beautiful grainy texture that give the movie some extra character. The concert itself is free of any imperfections. Colors are remarkably bold and rich. Black levels create stunning contrast. Detail is set so high that every ripple in Keith Richard’s face is, for better or worse, visible. This is the type of transfer that holds up under all scrutiny.

Both TrueHD and DTS-HD Master audio 5.1 mixes are included. The stunning sound field of the audio flawlessly captures the feeling of being inside the Beacon Theatre as the band performs. The crowd audio is planted in the rears and swings around with the tracking shots. The music, along with remarkable clarity, is never overshadowed.

Extras are brief but notable. A 15-minute featurette offers some deleted footage intertwined with older interviews with the band. Four extra songs not shown during the main feature are presented in HD, and of the same quality as the film itself.

Though the movie itself is called Shine a Light, that famous Rolling Stones song is not included during the performance. On top of that, it’s not one of the four extra songs included in the extras menu. One would think that it's inclusuion would be appropriate.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.