Credit: Anne Varak via Flickr.
The scene looks like a night sky, filled with stars. The stars are lighters and cell phones --- 20,000 people listening to Jack Johnson sing and play his guitar. Johnson, a surfer, solar-enthusiast and singer-songwriter, adds the title of "documentary subject" to his resume on Tuesday, Oct. 27. That's when the film "En Concert" will be released. It chronicles one leg of Johnson's 2008 "Sleep Through the Static" tour, where he attempted to bring the music of the ocean and the waves to stages across Europe.The film includes black and white and color footage and is filled with special guests including Eddie Vedder, Paula Fuga and Ben Harper.
"The songs that we play are about love," Johnson says in a trailer for the film. "The theme of love" is what attracts people.
Not only does this film cause foot-tapping and head-bobbing, it's for a good cause. All of the proceeds from the release will go to fund the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, which support environmental, art, and music education around the globe.
Johnson's 2008 tour, by the way, was powered with biodiesel buses, coaches and generators, and included recycling and composting efforts. The tour's goal was to be completely carbon neutral, Johnson says on his web site. More than 4,000 metric tons of carbon were offset through contributions to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and programs that protect large tracts of old-growth jungles and forests.
This blogger has already had a peak at the film, courtesy of a screening copy sent by Johnson's publicist. It has a lot of soul, for sure. The movie includes crowd favorites and Johnson's personal favorites, including verses from Jimi Hendrix's "Remember" and Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion." Between the songs, there are behind-the-scene moments including Johnson weathering a storm in Newquay, surfing on a river in Germany, and talking about his wife and kids.
Besides the 80-minute film, there's a companion live CD, old-fashioned LP and new-fangled Deluxe DVD/CD. You can also grab tracks on iTunes. A deluxe edition includes the film, a CD and a 60-page booklet of photos from the tour ($50 if you pre-order it from Johnson's web site).
"En Concert" has already been screened in California, Canada, and shown in part on Johnson's Facebook site.
"Jack really does not like to be on the other side of the lens," says Emmett Malloy, the filmmaker.
"Getting a shot of him is kind of similar to getting a shot of the Loch Ness Monster; it's a rare occurrence. Surprisingly, he let our cameras really join him on this tour. I just knew that I better keep a guitar or surfboard in his hands, because with either of those weapons he seemed to never know we were there."