Last night we went to see David Byrne at the Civic Opera House. It was an absolutely amazing concert, even better than what I’d hoped for. (Oh, and we had front row seats, so that made it even more amazing!)
David always has such an amazing energy and stage presence. From the moment he walked on stage, the whole venue came alive. He was greeted with a standing ovation, which seemed to shock him a bit – he looked genuinely humbled by it. He and the band (and the dancers) really fed off the crowd’s energy all evening. Although, for the first few songs the crowd stayed in their seats, not getting up to dance, which seemed to throw everyone on stage off a bit. Maybe it was because of the venue, but people seemed reluctant to get up at first. (When the crowd finally got over it and did get up and dance, David commented “Well, it is an opera house.”)
The set list was a good mixture of both “hits” and rare tracks; “Houses in Motion” and “The Great Curve” were two from the latter category that I was happy to hear. Surprisingly, as the show was centered around Byrne/Eno collaborations, only one song from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was played. Their new album, however, was heavily represented.
Of the Talking Heads stuff, Remain in Light and Fear of Music were the prime sources of material, with only one song from More Songs About Buildings and Food (“Take Me to the River”). They also played “Burning Down the House” during one of the encores, even though it didn’t fit into the Byrne/Eno motif.
There was also one song from The Catherine Wheel (although, it wasn’t “What a Day That Was”, which I was hoping he would play), and a new song that wasn’t on the album, but he said would be released “eventually” (should we get our hopes up for a new David Byrne solo album?).
I had read about the use of dancers on this tour, and didn’t know what to expect. Normally I’m not one for having dancers on stage for a rock concert. But, this wasn’t the type of dancing you would expect from the types of artists that typically employ dancers. Of course David has worked with choreographers before for different projects, but previously in the capacity of supplying music for a dance project. This time around, the choreographer was supplying dance for the music.
The dancing, like I said, wasn’t what you might expect from a “pop” concert. This was artistic modern dance. I don’t really know how to review dance, so I’ll just say that the dancers really added to the performance. They interacted with the musicians (well, David and the backup singers anyway) in playful and interesting ways, and they even joined in on the backup vocals for one of the encore numbers.
Anyway, we had a great time. We were really looking forward to see David play again (it’s been about four years now since his last tour), and he didn’t disappoint in the least.