"A total tongue bath," avers Camille Dodero in her review a few months ago of Martin Scorsese's Shine A Light. The first fifteen minutes spent "backstage" with the five pensioners is supposed to show their human side. But when Bill and Hillary Clinton and their retinue show up late and position themselves on stage with as canny an understanding of blocking as actors at the Old Vic, I don't know whether to feel more sorry for the upstaged Mick Jagger (looking uncharacteristically flummoxed) or Charlie Watts, who can't understand why the Clintons weren't scheduled with the rest of the meet-and-greeters. Meanwhile Scorsese does an excellent job of impersonating frustration as he stares mournfully at the speaker phone while Jagger tinkers with set lists until the moment of performance (Scorsese's eyebrows are as much a extraterrestrial wonder as Jagger's copyrighted lips).
Speaking of which...they range from pneumatic to pretty great. Scorsese captures an unexpected tension between Jagger and Richards during "As Tears Go By": Richards looks so jazzed – as if it was Richards appearing with his heroes for the first time and not Jack White –
that he undercuts the precision and rue that Jagger carves into the lyrics. Nice versions of "Connection" and "You Got The Silver." They kick up a nice storm through "Undercover of the Night" (everybody: "OAN-DAH-COVAH OF DA NOIGHT!") and open up "Tumbling Dice" without flattening its classic tumbling rhythm. Not a single tune from A Bigger Bang (during rehearsals we watch Jagger practice his slide guitar part on "Back of My Hand"); not a single tune younger than "Start Me Up."