One Fine Day
Help Me Somebody
Houses In Motion
My Big Nurse
My Big Hands (Fall Through The Cracks)
Crosseyed and Painless
Life Is Long
Once In A Lifetime
Life During Wartime
I Feel My Stuff
Take Me To The River
The Great Curve
Burning Down the House
Everything That Happens
This tour is in support of Byrne’s latest collaboration with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Before the tour began, Byrne promised that the shows would be a mix of old and new songs, so long as they were worked on by both him and Eno. Some of my favorite Talking Heads material came out of that partnership, so, to combat any disappointment, I looked at the setlist right after he began the tour. I was bummed that he wasn’t doing songs such as “Artists Only” and “Air.” You can imagine how surprised I was when he added both “Air” and “Burning Down the House” to the show. When he began playing “Air” I was so taken aback that I just stood there. And then when he strapped on the acoustic guitar and started “Burning Down the House”… I was in heaven. (Even if it was a cheat; Eno did not work with Byrne on that song.) Those two songs were easily the highlight of the evening for me.
As is customary with David Byrne, the show was very theatrical. Everyone was dressed totally in white and occasionally dancers would come out and bust some choreographed moves. Here’s a clip from a different show:
It was pretty cool, although he mainly used the dancers during old Talking Heads songs. He’s gone on record before saying those songs are too old for him to relate to, so my guess is he’s using the dancers to revitalize them for him. It’s a win-win situation for both the audience and the performer.
Unfortunately, all this professional dancing made the audience feel comfortable to bust a move. People began springing up all over the place, waving their hands in the air and trying to do their best to imitate the “Once in a Lifetime” video. They did not succeed. As I told my friend Aggie, it was like attending the largest, whitest wedding reception ever.
There was a very young little girl there with her parents, though, and she was having the time of her life dancing to the music. Little kids are allowed to dance like that, so I gave her a pass. Plus, any kid that likes David Byrne at that age is freaking awesome.
The song arrangements for the TH stuff wasn’t that radically different from the Stop Making Sense era. In fact, there were a lot of moments that came verbatim from that film/album during a few of the songs. I should have minded, but I never got to see Talking Heads live and I’m guessing tonight was the closest I will ever come to that. So I didn’t mind him doing some of the songs exactly as he did in 1984.
This show far eclipsed his 2001 show at the Murat Egyptian Room. The setlist was better and Byrne just seemed more into it. Plus there wasn’t a national tragedy lingering in everyone’s minds. (Last time I saw him was September 16, 2001. Life during wartime, indeed.) Yeah, I could have used more old Talking Heads songs, but, as I kept telling myself, I wasn’t at a Talking Heads concert. Maybe someday they’ll reunite, but I doubt that will ever happen. Besides, tonight came close enough for me. A great, great show. If he comes to your town, see him!