Concert Documentaries are normally rather simple, a few cameras, a few cool angles, colorful shots and point the camera at the band as they sing a set of their songs. Two filmmakers took a very different direction in two separate concert documentaries airing on Showtime.
Both doc’s chronicled two separate tours for the recent Grammy award winning band Mumford and Sons. The first was entitled MUMFORD AND SONS: THE ROAD TO RED ROCKS. The documentary chronicled the band’s Gentleman Of The Road tour which took them to not so popular spots in the US to play shows with a group of bands. It also chronicles the band’s most important US show, which was at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. The directors and the band give an exclusive backstage pass with even more exclusive performances and interviews with band members. RED ROCKS chronicles a band that for all intensive purposes just seems happy to be here and overjoyed to be playing big concerts in front of thousands of screaming fans.
The other documentary is THE BIG EASY EXPRESS, A one hour look into the bands Railroad Revival Tour. It takes viewers along on a tour they did with Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show. It’s a 2 week or so long trip taking a train from San Francisco to New Orleans, stopping to play music at a number of venues along the way. The movie is less about the band’s final stop in New Orleans and more about the overwhelming trip they took to get there.
Where Director Emmett Malloy gets his creative power is from the film’s stars. The interviews are fun and insightful and the images for fans are a dream come true. We have all wondered what it would be like on the tour bus of your favorite band… now imagine three amazingly original bands on one big oversized bus jamming out for hours at a time.
Among the memorable moments- members of all three bands greeting fans with a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This train is bound for glory” while stopped in Texas with help from the other bands. Seeing creative covers of each others songs, you get a feeling of wonder, a thought creeping into the back of your mind that you are simply watching one of the coolest jam sessions in music history, and it’s occurring right in front of you. There is also a feeling of love that all three bands have for each other, a love of their fans, and love for each other’s music that makes you smile and sing along.
While the Mumford’s popularity is ever growing, after personally seeing the band in concert recently, you understand they are not only selling out arenas they are quite possibly the most popular band in their genre. They seem to do everything with such passion – as if there is no place in the world these guys would rather be than right where they are, playing their music. If you have 2 hours to spend, you are more then welcome to board THE BIG EASY EXPRESS, and take the ROAD TO RED ROCKS. Trust me, you won’t regret it.