Incredible! Unreal! Unbelievable! Brilliant!
I can’t recall a week in Adelaide where I have been able to go to so many great live concerts that were all equally great but there’s no doubt that David Byrne topped the list. It has been touted by many as one of those must see shows and even some of my closest friends have said that this will be one the best shows you’ll ever see and that you must go. They weren’t wrong!
David Byrne has always been on the cutting edge with music and to label this as a show is way off the mark. This was art, a real production where the norms of having the singer at the front and the rest of the band behind and to the sides is out the window. The centre piece was the whole stage starting with Byrne sitting at a table holding a model brain for the opening song Here. The stage dynamic is incredible where literally the background became the foreground where Byrne and band who appeared from the sides blend together to become something quite amazing. It was a question that was asked later on whether the music was live and Byrne smashed that on it’s head saying that everything that was heard here is played live by some incredible musicians from all around the world.
There was a sense of being free and letting the music take the show where it needed to go. There were no cords or cables with the band have their instruments strapped to them and to move and roam to all corners of the stage with army like precision. Incredible! I have never seen anything like this and this has been one of the best musical experiences ever for me.
David Byrne’s back catalogue is expansive and there’s so much to cover including his latest solo effort American Utopia. The only question remained is what would be left out? Early it was Talking Heads classics that kept the crowd excited and grooving in their seats with I Zimba, Slippery People and I Should Watch TV. Byrne explained that a high school he worked with interpreted and gave new meaning to Everybody’s Coming To My House and that he like their interpretation better which is more inclusive rather than his which was focused on “when are they leaving, turn off the lights”.
People wanted to stand and dance and that opportunity came with Once In A Lifetime. Doing The Right Thing had some references to the Victorian election and issues from the US election. The song that Byrne recorded with Fatboy Slim Toe Jam was an absolute ripper. I think there were a few confused looks when there was a block of songs from American Utopia with I Dance Like This, Bullet, Every Day Is A Miracle which had not been heard before. It was hard to believe that the Byrne and band were walking off stage after epic Talking Heads classics with Blind and Burning Down The House (and it literally did).
Returning for the first of two encores the conga line in Road To Nowhere was a sight to see then finishing on The Great Curve. Wow! The second encore support act Kimbra (who was incredible) joined the stage for the political statement about change covering Janelle Monae’s Hell You Talmbout. It was hard not to feel empowered, uplifted and inspired to contribute to a better tomorrow after that. There’s little doubt in my mind that this is up there as one of the finest shows to hit Adelaide in quite some time, incredible. Keep an eye out on support act Kimbra, she’s already taking the world by storm now but just you wait, her meteoric rise will continue.
Live Review by Rob Lyon