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Posts Tagged ‘David Byrne’

I was lucky enough to see these two on tour. I wrote about it here. And now NPR has released video from that tour. You really need to watch it: http://www.npr.org/event/music/168888064/david-byrne-st-vincent-in-concert

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My sister, Mo, is in town. She’s in town because we are David Byrne-ing it up!(Byrne-ing down the house?) Tonight we get to see him talk about his book How Music Works with Carrie Brownstein, but last night we saw him perform with St. Vincent(Annie Clark) in support of their collaborative album Love This Giant

Intention. Beauty. Art. That is what we witnessed. I’ll be honest. I don’t really know how to write this review; how to properly convey the experience I had. Let me start with the basics and go from there.

There was a minimalist stage set up; just a few stage lights and a plain white backdrop. This was used to great affect when setting the mood. Byrne and St. Vincent both convey an amazing stage presence and are amazing vocalists and, as Mrs. Muffin said, St. Vincent has Prince-like chops on the guitar. The eight-piece horn section, drummer, and keyboardist were tight-every single one of them consummate musicians. Each song had it’s own choreography whether it was dancing, marching around the stage or even having the horn section and Byrne lie down so the attention was aimed at St. Vincent.

Everything was so focussed and thoughtful and every song was so good and every performer so on their game. And here is the part that is kind of hard to explain. I have been to many concerts and had an amazing time. There are times when the artist or band and the audience are so in sync that it becomes transcendent (Belly at LaLuna in ’95 comes to mind). While last night’s concert did not attain that kind of transcendence, it did offer something else-at least to me. About three songs in it all hit me: David Byrne, St. Vincent, the horn section, the drummer, the keyboardist, the amount of work, dedication, passion, talent, and the level of the craft that I was witnessing and then it happened. Bear with me here kids….my eyes watered…they teared up. I didn’t cry, but I would say I was moved to tears. I have heard people talk about being brought to tears by artwork or a piece of music and have never gotten it. I understand those things bringing out something that is already inside of a person, but never believed the art or music did it in and of itself. Maybe I had something inside me that recognized what was going on up on the stage last night, but it seemed bigger than that and it definitely didn’t feel like it was about me.


Of note:
They played three encores and when they introduced the members of the horn section they pointed out that each person had their own table in the lobby selling merchandise for their individual bands they are in outside of the Love This Giant project. That’s class, folks.

Every song was amazing. That is rare, but it’s true.

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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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