Monday, June 22, 2009

Once in a lifetime

Last night I had the fortune to go see David Byrne in concert. Within the last year my tastes in music have shifted in time, so to speak. My favorite bands and artists now are all from the 70s (Glam rock: David Bowie, T-Rex, Sparks, Roxy Music, proto-punk and punk especially) and the early 80s (Post-Punk, New Wave, etc.) A friend of mine introduced me to the Talking Heads last summer through what is now one of my favorite films, True Stories which was written, produced, and directed by David Byrne the lead singer of the Talking Heads. The movie is a celebration of people in all their absurd glory. When I found out that David Byrne would be playing in Salt Lake I knew I would go.

I almost didn't because tickets were so expensive, but thanks to my brother-in-law who works at the U, we got 2 free tickets. There wasn't an opening band, and I was surprised at all of the yuppies there at the concert (I mean really, am I the only 25 year old in love with David Byrne?), but it ended up being fantastic. My sister and I found perfect spots right at the very front of the stage, probably the best spot in the whole amphitheatre. The weather at first was a little crappy, but it ended up being a really lovely evening with no rain and no wind. The atmosphere was perfect.

David Byrne came out wearing all white with white hair and sheepishly approached the microphone. "Hi, I'm Dave," he said and then explained that they would be playing music from the new album, Everything that Happens Will Happen Today that he made with the legendary Brian Eno, as well as some older things from his solo career and from the Talking Heads. I felt a little awkward because I was the only one dancing at first, but after two or three very funky songs the whole crowd was up an moving. By the end of the concert everyone within my sight of vision was dancing and the roar of the crowd when it was over was deafening. He ended up giving 4 encores.

I knew he would deliver a truly amazing show, but I wonder how many of the people there were taken by surprise. I wonder if they expected that they would have such a fantastic time. Not only was the music amazing (the new album is very dancable and they played several older songs with the Talking Heads' signature funky sound), but the visual performance was also incredible. All of the band was dressed in white including his three back up singers and three dancers who performed choreographed pieces for almost every song. The dances were definitely fun, but they also told the stories in the songs, and David Byrne took part in almost each and every piece. One woman was dressed in white shorts, a little t-shirt, white leggings and tennis shoes. She was adorable with a hair-cut that gave her a striking resemblance to a young Shirley MacLaine from the Apartment (as Lindy pointed out). The other woman was dressed in trousers, a button-down shirt and a jacket. She gave off a little more androgynous vibe and often danced with the other woman rather intimately. The third dancer was a man, similarly dressed in a shirt and pants and had some wild hair. I loved every piece they performed and wish that I could see and analyze the whole show again. I saw one of the numbers performed on the Colbert Report and absolutely loved the way they made the song so visual, and I was really pleased to see that as such an important element to the whole show.

I have a little bit of a rating system set up for concerts. I take in to account the ticket price, the atmosphere, the audience, the music, the visual aspects, where I am standing (and how many tall people are in front of me), the price of the merchandise, the overall joy of the concert, and the likelihood that I will continue to listen to the music. Wanna see my scores?
Ticket Price: FREE!!! 10
Atmosphere: lovely evening, it didnt rain on us, it was outside so I wasn't stuffy. 9
Audience: great audience, got into the music, a bit older but danced way more than young audiences. 9
Music: 10
Visual: the dancing was amazing. 10
Where I was standing: NO tall people in front of me, plenty of room to dance. 10
Merch: $10 t-shirt! but $10 buttons. 8
Overall Joy: 10. Definitely a 10. Just like in True Stories, David Byrne creates joy. That's all there is to it.
Likelihood I will continue to listen to David Byrne: Duh. No doubt. There are still Talking Heads albums I have never heard before! 10!

Ok, so based on this I am going to have to put that show into my number 1 slot of all time favorite shows. That's a huge step, but the fact that the ticket was free and that I will always listen to David Byrne beats out Arcade Fire for the number one slot. It was a perfect show.

The end.


  1. It must have TRULY been amazing if it is replacing the Arcade Fire as your favorite show. I think I will try to see him in Fiesole, that is, if the ticket is not too expensive and if I can get a way back from there to Florence.

  2. Jendar you totally need to go when he's in Fiesole, if you can. It was INCREDIBLE.

  3. Well I was at that Arcade Fire concert (and it's still my number one) so David Bryne must have been amazing to replace them. I'd love to hear more about your new musical tastes. I know nothing about older bands (1960s, 1970s)...except for the Beatles.

  4. I grew up on True Stories, as well as this music movie of him on stage wearing a giant suit. I haven't seen it for years but I'm sure it was him. Oh David Byrne! You are one lucky kid Jasie. I'm so glad you got to go!

    PS Didn't another friend (aka me) introduce you to Talking Heads before last summer? I remember blasting Road to Nowhere quite loudly from the living room.

  5. Oh yes, I know the video with him in a giant suit. It's on youtube. I do remember you blasting that, but Alicia is the one that forced me to watch True Stories. We should all get together and watch it.