The seven best band tour documentaries

Categories: Lists

black-lips-doc.jpg
From the Kids Like Us trailer.
The Black Lips are heading to Denver April 2 in support their new album Underneath The Rainbow and also a new documentary featuring their 2012 tour of that took them through Egypt, Cypress, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Watching this rough yet intimate look at what it's like for a Western indie band to draw crowds in the Middle East post-Arab Spring got the Backbeat crew thinking about other intriguing tour documentaries. Here is the list of seven must-watch for any music enthusiast. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments.

See also: Pete Bell's Rhinoceropolis documentary offers insightful look at Denver's underground culture


7. Mistaken for Strangers
Mistaken for Strangers follows The National as they set out on their first worldwide tour after the release of High Violet. However, this documentary follows the tour from a very specific viewpoint: the brother of front man Matt Berninger, Tom Berninger. More a film about sibling rivalry and living a few feet away from rock stars, this documentary provides honest footage of the band on the road as well as an inside look at Berninger's mentality and his complicated relationship with his less ambitious brother.

Available: In Theaters and iTunes March 28.


The Road to God Knows Where (1990) trailer by Flixgr
6. The Road To God Knows Where
Shot by one person with a handheld camera, The Road To God Knows Where provides an intimate look at Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds' 1989 tour of American. While this documentary doesn't show a lot of Cave's impressive on-stage skills, it makes up for it by showing what happens when not in the public eye on the road. Nick Cave also has a new documentary coming out this year, so before you see that, it might be good to check out the Cave of 24 years ago.

Available: Online at nickcave.com, Amazon


5. Shut Up and Play The Hits
This documentary isn't about a whole tour, but one exceptional show. The last show LCD Soundsystem would play -- and man, was it a show. Intercut with backstage footage, an interview between James Murphy and Chuck Klosterma is a timeline the day after the show, post-LCD Soundsystem. This film perfectly captures the end of band and really the end of an era. This is a documentary about how big of a farewell party a band can throw, and what it's really like when an icon decides to walk away from it all.

Available: Netflix Instant, iTunes, Amazon


4. Meeting People Is Easy
It's hard to imagine there was a time when Radiohead wasn't one of the biggest bands around, but with the release of OK Computer at 1998, they were just starting to come to grips with the international fame they would keep growing for years. Meeting People Is Easy chronicles the band's exhaustive world tour promoting the now-iconic album. This documentary is, in a way, the opposite of The Road To God Knows Where in that it is quite impersonal -- not about Thom Yorke's brooding soul or the strain of a 104 city tour, but instead about the album itself and what it took for a band like Radiohead to make and support it on the road.

Available: Amazon, Youtube


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11 comments
Dustin Noden
Dustin Noden

We've got quite a few in our Netflix queue already!

NumberThree
NumberThree

Also, Shut Up and Play The Hits is a concert (their last) doc and not a tour doc.


Denver Westword
Denver Westword

More of a concert film than a tour film, but a great one nonetheless. Anybody else have any suggestions?

Kris Abel
Kris Abel

You left out "Stop Making Sense" by Talking Heads.....sad

phxmark86
phxmark86

@yodownmuthalicka  Or maybe some white trash scumbag will make empty threats to beat you up, then piss on you. Like a fukkin dog. Except without any actual bite. Coward.

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