So, I skipped lithely out of school, Friday night, overtaking amused parents and children alike, and bounded onto the first available Bristol train to see David Byrne at Colston Hall. Met my friend Tom, and pausing only to refill a cracked (well, gushing,) radiator, we were in the Bar by seven thirty, wondering quite what sort of a treat we were in for.
As far as I’m concerned, Byrne has been pretty much dead since the late eighties, although I realise this does a huge disservice to his later solo work – it’s just that for me the Talking Heads are welded onto a period in my life, when I (and the rest of the UK) listened to them pretty exhaustively and it seemed that the whole world had fallen for the furious, slack-wristed rhythm guitar of the man.
Things move on, you find other bands to adore and before you know it ten years have gone by without so much as a cursory listen, and what was considered at the time to be essential listening is now … well … old and forgotten.
This is all by way of saying that, incredibly, I can no longer name the tracks on Remain in Light, cannot (could not) singing along to Life During Wartime and am still struggling to remember the name of my favourite track on More Songs about Buildings and Food (“I’ll bet it tastes real good…”) How do these things happen?
Anyway, David Byrne came on at 8:30 prompt in a white suit (not baggy) and blew a good few of the cobwebs away. There was a fair amount of new (or at least unfamiliar) material at first but even on first listen it sounded pretty good (my favourite being the opener “Strange Overtones”).
Particularly enjoyable were the three modern dancers that weaved in and out of the musicians in what can only be described as a very David Byrne way. They were loose but as one, and I loved them.
Here’s a clip from the gig that has appeared on YouTube already, where you can see the them:
(Thanks to Dadiofoot, there are also a few more clips uploaded by the same feller, which are well worth watching…)
Pretty soon though, the tempo upped and some really cracking versions of great songs were rolled out – Born Under Punches, Houses in Motion and Crosseyed and Painless spring to mind. I really like Colston Hall and the acoustics are great, but it was a bit of a shame that we were all seated, because a collective fidgeting and wriggling started to flow up and down the aisles, as row after row of middle-aged respectables started to feel the urge. A few rash souls got down to the front to dance, and one buffoon with pints in both hands almost started a fight as he kept getting up for a little skip in the middle of his row.
I didn’t take my video gadget but I did manage to bootleg pretty much the whole show, missing only Burning Down the House, but by then it was mayhem even up in the gods. It’s going to take me a while to clean the recordings up, although I think they’re pretty good, so I’ll post them tomorrow or later this evening.
It was a great show, though, rounded off brilliantly with a second encore of “Burning Down the House”, with Byrne, dancers and band all coming back on wearing Greek fustanellas and spinning around enthusiastically.
Amazing how you can forget really...