Jacob at the Movies: The Top Four Pop/Rock Concert Films of the 1990s/2000s

It’s another edition of Jacob at the Movies!  This edition focuses on concert films that you need to see before the year is over…so these selections may not be Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden but of the concert films that I selected only one focuses on showmanship but the remaining focus on music.

Michael Jackson: Live in Bucharest-The Dangerous Tour

With 70,000 concert attendees and broadcasted on both radio and televisions across 60 countries[1] around the world, The late King of Pop’s historic 1992 concert in Bucharest, Romania was truly a spectacle to watch and to date remains the only Jackson concert to be published on DVD.

Highlights of the concert include “Smooth Criminal,” “Thriller,” which featured a built-in graveyard that featured skeletons and zombies, the moving “Will You Be There” and the high intensity “Black or White.”

Fleetwood Mac: The Dance

What makes this concert film so special is that it is the first time in 10 years (minus the one-off performance of “Don’t Stop” at then-President Bill Clinton’s 1993 Inaugural Ball) that the Rumours Fleetwood Mac line-up performed together.    This concert featured a positive energy throughout the entire film and also gave a chance to highlight the strengths of the group from Lindsey Buckingham’s incredible guitar solos in “I’m So Afraid” and “Big Love” to Stevie Nicks’ showcase of her seductive voice in “Dreams,” “Gold Dust Woman,” and “Rhiannon.”

This film and concert also marks the last time long co-front woman: Christine McVie performed with the band because after The Dance tour ended in 1998, she retired from the band.   McVie’s finest moments in this film include: “Temporary One”, “Say You Love Me,” and the film’s final song: “Songbird”

Elton John: One Night Only The Greatest Hits

Sir Elton John rocked Madison Square Garden for two nights in this concert film.  One Night Only showcases John’s incredible vocals especially through classics like “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Tiny Dancer” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”   Sir Elton’s piano playing is incredible throughout the night but he really excels when the British Piano Man performs “I’m Still Standing,” “Little Jeannie” and “The One.”

Another highlight of this film is when Sir Elton brings out guest performers to duet with him on his classics.   Fellow Classic Rocker Billy Joel pops in to sing “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which both legends show impeccable piano playing and terrific vocals.    Grammy-winning superstar Mary J. Blige added soul to “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” while Canadian rocker Bryan Adams added rock to “Sad Songs (Say So Much).”  But the surprise of the night had to be when Elton brought out Kiki Dee to perform the movie’s closer: “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” which despite Dee’s vocals in her lower range, the song rocked and ended the concert film on a high note.

Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium-The Concert

Recently I watched Billy Joel’s 2008 concert at Shea Stadium, the former home to the New York Mets baseball team and to be honest with you…I loved every single minute of it.   There were moments in the concerts where I got goose bumps all over my arms and chills down my spine.    Joel performed all of his standards and made the concert memorable by bringing music legends like Tony Bennett, who performed a jazzy rendition of “New York State of Mind,” and Sir Paul McCartney, who brought the house down with Beatles classics: “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Let It Be.”

In addition to the star performers who graced Billy Joel’s stage near home plate, Mr. Joel’s band of incredible musicians who helped him pull of one of the greatest concerts of the 2000s.   One of the highlights of the concert that you should not miss is “Goodnight Saigon,” where a choir of New York’s finest police officers and firefighters joined Joel on stage to sing this anthem.   I got chills just hearing it.

Enjoy watching these concerts and if I missed some please leave a comment below! Catch you later!


[1] MJ: Live in Bucharest DVD cover

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar