10 Concert Documentaries to Cure Your Concert Withdrawal

It’s been 140 days since I’ve last been to a concert. From someone who was going to multiple shows a week for the past few years, it’s been a big adjustment. While the livestreams have been great, it’s been hard for me to find the time to tune in, and I still miss the traditional concert setting with the cheering crowds, crazy light shows, and electric guitars and full drum kits. As it becomes clearer that the summer and fall concert seasons aren’t going to happen, I’ve decided to take the next week to revisit some of the greatest music and concert movies of all time. Nothing like a personal film festival to revitalize and raise one’s spirits! Here’s what I’ll be watching:

Green Day’s Heart Like a Hand Grenade, Awesome as F**K, and Bullet in a Bible

First shown to a group of about 400 people in 2009, Heart Like a Hand Grenade didn’t see a mainstream release until just a few years ago. Directed by John Roecker, the film shows an intimate look at Green Day’s writing and recording of American Idiot. The Heart Like a Hand Grenade DVD is available on Green Day’s webstore, as well as Amazon and some resale sites.

Awesome as F**K is a live concert documentary filmed at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on January 23 & 24, 2010. The band released the CD/DVD on Reprise Records in 2011, in support of 21st Century Breakdown (2009). The CD/DVD is out of stock almost everywhere in the US and is not available for streaming, but there’s a few copies available in the Australia Warner Web Store. A kind soul by the name “trombonejimmy” also uploaded the documentary to YouTube. Thank you, Saint Jimmy.

The first official Green Day documentary release, Bullet in a Bible documents the band’s Milton Keynes National Bowl shows in June 2005. It’s unfortunately not available on the band’s site, but is available from a few retailers and resale sites. Many of the songs from the DVD are also available for individual viewing on YouTube.

I was hoping to catch Green Day for the first time this summer on their tour with Weezer and Fall Out Boy, but I suppose all these rock docs will suffice for now!

Rise Against’s Generation Lost and Another Station: Another Mile

One of my favorite bands, Rise Against has put out two DVDs over the years: Generation Lost (2006) and Another Station: Another Mile (2010). This will be my first year since junior year of highschool not seeing this band live, so you can bet I’ll be spending my weekend watching these films. Generation Lost is a documentary on the band, filmed during the band’s run on Warped Tour, with interviews from friends, family, and fans. The DVD also includes live performances at the band’s sold out 5 night residency at the Troubadour in LA in May of 2006, four music videos, and the making of the videos for “Ready to Fall” and “Swing Life Away.” The 2010 film Another Station: Another Mile follows a more traditional outline: 14 songs performed live during various tour dates, with commentary from the band in between. 

Both documentaries are available on DVD for reasonable prices on many-a-website, and you can also find the full films unofficially on YouTube (though you didn’t hear it from me).

Anti-Flag’s Death of a Nation

Since all the films on this list are from the 2000s, we can’t not include Anti-Flag’s live DVD contribution. Released in 2004, Death of a Nation includes 23 live tracks from various shows during the North American Terror State tour. Admittedly, if you’re looking for high quality video or audio, there’s probably other live recordings of this band you’d like to watch instead. However, since this is their official DVD release it’s going on the list! If you want to own the DVD, discogs or another resale site is probably your best option. You can also currently watch it (unofficially) on YouTube.

If you like the band, consider catching their upcoming stream as well. You can find information on their website.

Thursday’s Kill the House Lights; Bastards of Young

Released in 2007, Thursday’s Kill the House Lights DVD features a full length documentary of the band, including 10 tracks performed live. Given that I’ve only gotten to see the band live since their 2017 reunion (they broke up in 2011), it’s really interesting to see what they were like back then, especially as they talk about their early days as a band. The film was directed, edited, and co-written by guitarist Steve Pedulla. Norman Brannon also co-wrote the film and did the interviews. I’m excited to chill out and watch this doc again. Maybe I’ll even finally listen to the CD that came with it. 

If you’re a fan of early 2000s emo, you might also want to watch a movie called Bastards of Young, which I didn’t learn about until I saw it listed on Geoff Rickly’s IMDb page. I’m excited to check it out! It opens with Thursday playing “Understanding in a Car Crash,” and features bands such as Underoath, Taking Back Sunday, Something Corporate, and a lot more!

My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade is Dead! and Life on the Murder Scene

Speaking of “reunions” and “early 2000s emo,” we can’t have a proper concert movie night without including My Chemical Romance.

I’ll forever (or at least until I get to see them) be upset that I decided against flying out to MCR’s first reunion show at The Shrine last December. For once, I decided to be financially responsible and not get to the far away/expensive gig, since I assumed they’d announce a US tour and I was already flying to Europe to see Thursday earlier that month. As we all know, the MCR tour is now delayed and also Thursday opened for MCR at the Shrine and played a few other Cali shows around it, so in conclusion, Stevie = 🤡. At least I got to see some cool castles and palaces and whatnot in Europe 🤷 (and watch low quality fan streams of the MCR show; thank you technology!), but for now I am so very sad. I also solemnly swear to never skip a good gig ever again.

Anywho, after I watch the aforementioned Thursday documentary, I’ll probably throw on The Black Parade is Dead! and have a good cry about liking this band for 7 years and not yet seeing them live. Luckily, the band posted the film on YouTube a few years ago, so at least I’m spared the hassle of finding a DVD player!

For the band’s other video release, Life on the Murder Scene, some DVDs are available on resale sites around the web. If you’d rather just stream it, there does appear to be some unofficial uploads of it to YouTube. An account called “May Death Never Stop You” uploaded the film alongside other MDNSY content.

While not an official release, a short video documentary of the band’s studio time for I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love from 2002 is worth a watch. The video resurfaced sometime after the band broke up, and is hosted on the recording studio’s YouTube channel.


What concert films have you been watching lately? Let us know in the comments!

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Cover photo (“Green Day Concert Stage (Montreal) – Green Day is Ever Green“) by Anirudh Koul licensed under CC by 2.0

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