During most of Grammy week, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 didn’t get much sleep. He sang ”Smooth” with Carlos Santana at the pre-Grammy Arista gala, followed by their joint appearance on the Grammy telecast itself, with no shortage of parties to keep his midnight oil burning. But as he prepared to go inside L.A.’s Grand Olympic Auditorium to film a live version of ”Smooth” with Santana for a large-format concert movie, Thomas pointed out that he got plenty of rest the night before, ”because each one of my pores will be a f—in’ inch.”
He has reason for concern: The concert film in question, All Access, is being prepared for IMAX screens. In the multi-artist movie, music fans will get an eye-boggling and — in 5.1 Surround — ear-bending dose of Sting, Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray, Kid Rock, and Moby. They’ll also see pairings of veterans with younger artists, à la Santana/Thomas (B.B. King with Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Roots; George Clinton and Mary J. Blige).
With this intergenerational concept and large format, the producers of Access — due next February — hope to bring spark to garden-variety concert flicks, the likes of which haven’t graced regular theaters since 1988’s $8.6 million-grossing U2: Rattle & Hum. ”Concert films haven’t been breaking the bank,” says Ideal Entertainment’s Jon Shapiro, who’s producing with his brother Peter. ”But the scope of this film makes it a much different experience. Because the screen is so big, you’ll have the opportunity to look at different parts of the performances each time.”
Even though the film isn’t finished, the Shapiros are already talking sequel. They’ve booked the Grand Olympic for Grammy week next year to shoot All Access Encore. Smooth move.