Not Only The Eras Tour: 5 Greatest Concert Films In History

Not Only The Eras Tour: 5 Greatest Concert Films In History
Image credit: Legion-Media, Netflix

If your favorite band disbanded twenty years ago and no longer plays concerts, a concert movie is (almost) an equivalent substitute.

2023 has become the year of the concert movies. Taylor Swift 's The Eras Tour is breaking all records, as is Beyoncé's second concert film, Renaissance.

If you have already seen these two gems of the genre, we suggest you turn to more classic and recognized works dedicated to great musicians, from David Bowie to Michael Jackson.

1. Woodstock: Three Days of Piece and Music, 1970

The movie depicts a unique rock festival (officially known as the Woodstock Music & Art Fair) that took place in the open air outside of Bethel in 1969. More than half a million people attended and legendary musicians such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin performed.

This is not only an opportunity to see the performances of the main stars of the time, but also a symbol of the hippie era and its end. A bright and emotional film was nominated for several awards and won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 1971.

2. Nirvana. MTV Unplugged in New York, 1993

From 1989 to 1999, MTV aired the Unplugged show, which featured stars of all sizes and genres. But it was Nirvana's acoustic concert, filmed in 1993 by director Beth McCarthy-Miller, that achieved cult status.

In addition to their hits, the group performed covers, including David Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World, now better known in Kurt's version. In the lyrics of the songs chosen by the group, journalists noted frequent references to death, and in the somber intonations of Kurt Cobain – melancholy and loneliness. Today it is difficult to argue with such an interpretation.

The concert was released in December 1993, and in April 1994, Kurt committed suicide. To this day, Nirvana's MTV performance is considered one of the best live performances in the group's and television's history.

3. Michael Jackson's That Is It, 2009

Kenny Ortega's film is about Michael Jackson's preparations for a concert in London in 2009 that never took place due to the musician's death. The documentary was an opportunity for fans to say goodbye to their favorite performer, as well as the last evidence of Jackson's greatness.

That Is It consists of footage of grueling rehearsals on and off stage, as well as conversations between the singer and his team. The director integrates documentary footage from various locations, and before the finale there is a piercing sound check of the song Man In The Mirror, after which Ortega bids farewell with Michael's Earth Song.

4. Serious Moonlight, 1984

Serious Moonlight was filmed during David Bowie's world tour in support of the release of his new album of the same name. It was directed by David Mallet, a popular music video director of the 1970s and 1980s who directed nearly all of the videos for Blondie and other stars of his generation.

Mallet's friendship with Bowie began in 1979 when they worked together on the Boys Keep Swinging video. Since then, Mallet has worked regularly with the musician, which may explain why Serious Moonlight is so cozy and serene, despite Bowie's usually flamboyant nature.

Here, concert footage is mixed with photos of the musician and excerpts from interviews, as well as cute episodes of fans covering his songs.

5. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, 2019

The first black woman to headline Coachella deserves to be on any list, so this one is not without Beyoncé either. And while the singer's second concert film, Renaissance, once again proves her greatness in movie theatres, we suggest remembering the first work – Homecoming.

The concert documentary, released on Netflix, offers a closer look at Beyoncé's historic performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Festival. In the film, Beyoncé offers insight into her creative process and her quest to create a memorable performance, giving viewers a glimpse into the meticulous preparation, rehearsals, and struggle to bring her vision to life on stage.