The Only Time It’s Appropriate to Dance Like David Byrne, Is At a David Byrne Concert

You know what day it is? It’s David Byrne Friday again! About once a month I unsystematically write a blog entry about my future ex-husband. This month, Mr. DB will be at the Paramount Theatre in Austin discussing his new book, “The Bicycle Diaries”, and bicycling in Austin. RSVP here
That’s ok though. 
I’ve gotten me some good Byrne lovin’ in the past….

Number #12 on the list of life’s greatest pleasures?
Watching David Byrne in concert.
The man has still got it. He never lost it.
The only difference is the replacement of gray instead of brown on that mop of hair.
Every other bit of him is the same. The body, the voice, the leg jerks and awkward hand gestures…

Like a child waiting anxiously for Christmas morning to arrive, I stood at the front of the stage an hour before David Byrne was to come on. I was at the Austin City Limits festival and he was the only reason I was there. I moved to Austin on this day specifically to see David Byrne. He is to be my familiar welcome to this strange new city I just uprooted my life to.
I’ve seen David Byrne twice prior. Once at the charming State Theatre in Ithaca, New York and the second time at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. In Ithaca, he wandered around the theater after the show, conversing with the few stragglers that hung around. I was genuinely surprised at how strange he was. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I thought a man who lacks any facial expression and sings about inanimate objects wouldn’t be odd. I asked if I can take a picture with him and he blankly stared at me and mumbled. When the flash came up, he lit up like a circus. He looks like a proud papa hugging his daughter who just won the State spelling bee contest. In the picture his top hat is pushed down his head, smooshing his ears under the lobes.
The Hollywood Bowl show was pure magic. The cosmos aligned and brought together two larger than life acts- David Byrne and Arcade Fire. I remember thinking during the show that I could have been struck by lightening and been happy. The encore was my number one favorite song “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)” sung by both acts. Oh, and there was some sort of burlesque marching band fornicating with brass instruments too.

Enough of things past.

At 6:30PM on Friday, September 26th, a somber character dressed all in white entered the stage. David Byrne picked up his guitar, said a quick hello, and jumped into his new single with Brian Eno, “Strange Overtones” from Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Normally, a very catchy song, I didn’t recognize it until halfway through. This was not a good sign and I was nervous. My anxiety quickly faded when the recognizable beats of “I Zimbra” began. Interpretative dancers dressed in white filled the stage and I knew we were in for something different.

My attempt at writing a professional review is going to end right here. I honestly don’t remember how the rest of the playlist went. I was on a fucking cloud, floating high above the stage. I know he played half of “Remain in Light”much to my delight. The crowd pleasers were “Once in a Lifetime” and “Life During Wartime”. Though two of Talking Heads’ most popular songs, they never ever ever get old. He even treated us to his famous “dance moves” made popular in STOP MAKING SENSE (“treat” being used loosely). A surprising song on the list was “Help Me Somebody” from Byrne and Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. David Byrne sang the part that was originally a sample of Rev. Paul Morton giving a sermon on the album. It worked great! The dancers were silly and all over the place, but it only added to the informality of his shows. Everyone was happy and it bounced back and forth between the performer and his audience. I called as many people as I could and held the phone up to the air. “It’s David Byrne!” I screamed and continued dancing like a fool. I was sticky, my armpits smelled, but I was happy. I was so unbelievably happy.

I looked up at the big screen above me and remembered when I was 16 and first saw David Byrne. I rented STOP MAKING SENSE and thought it was the awe-inspiring footage that I had ever seen. Who was this guy? What were these songs? I learned every lyric, every dance move. For the past 10 years, Talking Heads have been my favorite band.
And to have the opportunity to stand in front of the singer, singing the words along with him, well, it’s one of the greatest pleasures in life.

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  • Reply arimoore October 2, 2008 at 4:22 am

    My partner Shira has been obsessed with Strange Overtones, and plays it over and over. It is really, really, really catchy. 🙂

    Sounds like it was an awesome concert.

  • Reply Politics of Love Chick September 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Ok, I'm going to pop out the old Byrne cd's now.

    He'd had an art installation a year ago where you could play a building – literally – he'd hooked up a…you know what, read it for yourself I'll only screw it up http://www.creativetime.org/programs/archive/2008/byrne/project.html

  • Reply Polly Syllabick September 19, 2009 at 6:53 am

    You know, at some point we're just going to have to be in the same place at the same time, because you show all the characteristic signs of awesomeness.

  • Reply That Chelsea Girl™ September 22, 2009 at 12:54 am


  • Reply withthejoneses September 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Are you going on Sunday?

  • Leave a Reply