I’ve been reading RJ Smith’s great The One: the Life and Music of James Brown.
Much has been made of how Brown upstaged the Rolling Stones, the show closers [on The T.A.M.I. Show]. How Mick Jagger was petrified as he watched Brown work and needed backstage consoling from Marvin Gaye — “Just go out there and do your best,” Gaye told him. He had to tell him something. Decades later, Keith Richards told an interviewer the biggest mistake of his life was going on The T.A.M.I. Show after Brown.
The second time he falls to his knees, we get a closeup of Brown’s face as he is being guided off the stage, the guys now intent on delivering him from this unsafe place. Brown touches his cheek in an almost shocking way, and the crowd is shouting, “Don’t go!” along with the Flames, but what you notice is how Brown is shaking his head and muttering something. Is he speaking in tongues? So gone he’s lost bodily control? He seems barking mad… He’s conducting the band from the depth of his paroxysm.
Be sure not to miss the incredible dancing on “Night Train,” too, especially the bit that begins around 8:30. This is one of the most amazing live concert clips I’ve ever seen (I’d never seen the film…).