Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

David Byrne

(Written on May 20, 2004.)

I've neglected so far to tell y'all about the David Byrne concert. It was super-fabulous.

I can't remember the name of the opening band, and I don't much care; they weren't singing in English, and the music was sort of arhythmic and weird. The duo did use a vocoder and a "boomerang" loopback device in their instrumentation. I found myself thinking of problems in my code during their performance.

David Byrne, though, was excellent enough to counter that.

I'd been waffling a lot about whether to go; I haven't enjoyed his solo work that I've heard as much as I enjoyed the Talking Heads, and I didn't even enjoy the last Talking Heads CD as much as I'd enjoyed their earlier work. I'd heard that he would be performing new arrangements of Talking Heads songs, but I feared that they'd be low-energy, watered-down versions.

I was completely wrong.

I don't remember the playlist, but almost every song was wonderful.
He did soulful operatic songs. (I remember one called "Aussencia")
He did Latin songs.
He did old Talking Heads songs.
He did new songs that would have fit Talking Heads well.

His band was a normal drummer, a mixed percussionist playing bongos and some other funky percussion, a marimba player, a guitarist (who was also one of the percussionists, but I don't remember which), and the Austin-based Tosca Strings, who included two violins, two violas, and two cellos.

I was particularly impressed by the marimba player, because he was usually playing with two mallets in each hand. But the strings were also amazing and rocked the house.
I would never have expected that "Psycho Killer" would sound so amazing backed by marimba and strings.

When he invited people to dance, I got up and danced with the crowd for the rest of the evening. Most of the attendees were dancing--I even noticed one woman dancing who was old enough that her daughter had grey hair. (There was a granddaughter with them, too. It was cool to see.)

He did three encores, I believe, for a total of over two hours of performing. (With "Burning Down the House" in his last encore; the crowd really joined in on "what about Pittsburgh, PA?" It was wonderful. I would gladly play a lot for a recording of that night's concert.
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