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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Weir’

Stop Making Sense is, hands down, the best concert film I have ever seen. (Me, hyperbolic? never.)

Released in 1984 it was filmed over 3 nights in 1983 on the Speaking in Tongues tour. The movie opens with a shot of lead singer David Byrne’s shoes walking onto a bare stage. He sets down a boom-box and pushes play, a dramatic conceit, as a drum machine (a Roland TR-808, in point of fact) is actually pumping the beat through the sound system and Byrne performs Psycho Killer. More of the band and more of the set appear onstage with each song. The stage crew deserve big props for their hand in silently positioning risers and placing effects pedals. A descending backdrop completes the stage set about 17 min in.

Director Jonathan Demme uses long camera shots so that the viewer can truly take in all that the band has to offer. The lighting is subdued and straightforward so as not to detract from the band’s performance. One can really tell that Talking Heads and the additional backing band are enjoying themselves.

The sound and performance in Stop Making Sense are incredible. Every band member delivers the goods. Talking Heads are in top form and let the music stand on it’s own while eschewing between song banter. I have to admit I am always a huge fan of a band that gets down to business. The recording is superb. The sound on every song is mixed perfectly and is crystal clear due to the 24 track digital recording.

Stop Making Sense captures a point in time, but is still relevant today. All of the songs are solidly written and impeccably performed. The stage concept and directing mesh perfectly. This movie is a joy from beginning to end. It makes one feel a part of something bigger, something beautiful. Stop Making Sense is more than a concert movie, it is art.

One last thought. If a Talking Heads bio-pic is ever made I want Wil Wheaton to play David Byrne. Seriously. For reals. He would be genius.

Stop Making Sense: directed by Jonathan Demme; director of photography, Jordan Cronenweth; edited by Lisa Day; produced by Gary Goetzman; With: Talking Heads, David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Edna Holt, Lynn Mabry, Steve Scales, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrel

Resources:

Wikipedia

New York Times

TROZ

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