10. New York Doll (2005)
> Musicians: The New York Dolls
> Directed by: Greg Whiteley
> Runtime: 75 minutes
This documentary follows musician, recovering alcoholic, and converted Mormon Arthur Kane as he reunites with his former band — influential glam outfit New York Dolls. The movie culminates in a moving New York Dolls reunion in London.
9. The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights (2009)
> Musicians: The White Stripes
> Directed by: Emmett Malloy
> Runtime: 93 minutes
This 2009 film follows rock duo The White Stripes on their 2007 tour across Canada, including a number of smaller performances at offbeat locales. In addition to filming striking live footage, director Emmett Malloy captures numerous soft, special moments between bandmates Jack and Meg White, making this an exceptional documentary.
8. Festival Express (2003)
> Musicians: Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Band, others
> Directed by: Bob Smeaton, Frank Cvitanovich
> Runtime: 90 minutes
“Festival Express” is a documentary about a Canadian “train tour” that took place one year after Woodstock. Performers include The Band, The Grateful Dead, Ian & Sylvia, Janis Joplin, and Buddy Guy. While the documentary wasn’t made until 2003, its original footage from 1970 makes the film a gem for fans of classic rock.
7. U2 3D (2007)
> Musicians: U2
> Directed by: Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington
> Runtime: 85 minutes
The Irish band’s “Vertigo” tour was chronicled by directors Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington. They shot seven different performances of the group and used the greatest number of 3-D cameras ever utilized for a concert project. Rotten Tomatoes acknowledged the technological importance of the film, with critics giving it a 92% Freshness score, and 93% of audiences liked it.
6. Gimme Shelter (1970)
> Musicians: The Rolling Stones
> Directed by: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin
> Runtime: 91 minutes
“Gimme Shelter” documents the Rolling Stones’ 1969 U.S. concert tour, a time when the bad boys of rock were performing songs with dark themes, such as “Gimme Shelter” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” The film culminates with the horrific stabbing death of a young man during a free concert at California’s Altamont Speedway, killed by a group of Hell’s Angels hired for security. The film seemed to sum up the anarchy of the counterculture and was a violent counterpoint to the peacefulness of the concert documentary “Woodstock.” It scored 100% Freshness among critics on Rotten Tomatoes. As a footnote, future Star Wars director George Lucas operated a camera for “Gimme Shelter.”