As a concept, concert documentaries generally exist on a scale of ‘timeless and iconic’ (Stop Making Sense, Sign O’ The Times, Katy Perry: Part Of Me) to ‘really fucking dry’. Unlike regular films, they are solely propped up by how engaging one performance can be for around two hours, meaning that so many of them fall into the latter category.
Because, sure, it was probably incredible to have been 23 years old in the 1970s and inches away from the dripping, writhing chest of Robert Plant, but it’s not quite the same in 2018 when you’re squinting at it via some buffering illegal download while your Whatsapp keeps flashing and you can hear your flatmate banging on about moth eggs in her couscous in the other room. That said, if you’re a superfan of a particular artist, that stuff can be engaging regardless. All of which is to say: the trailer for Patti Smith’s new concert documentary is out (below) and depending on where you stand on all of the above, it might be your shit.
The doc – Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band – contains footage from the LA leg of her 2015 tour, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of her iconic debut album Horses. The plan is for it to be available to stream in full via Apple Music on 22 May. Stephen Sebring directed the film, who credit-reading fans will know is the same person who gave us another, more traditional Patti Smith doc, Dream of a Life, a decade ago. That first documentary was well-received (The New York Times called it “joyous and elegiac, warm and vibrantly present, a mosaic of moods and moments from one woman’s richly lived time on earth”) so there is every chance that this one is going to bang also.
That said, if you're not already obsessed with songs like “Land”, which is ten mins long and begins with a poem that slowly builds into a visceral, rumbling explosion in which Patti is pounding her fists and screaming “Horses! Horses! Horses!”, you might not need to watch the clip above. If, like me, that is extremely your thing, then by all means dive in. As this is essentially a celebration of a celebration of a particular moment in time, I have a feeling this is going to be one for the mega nerds.
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