Lee and I last saw David Byrne at Brixton Academy in 1992 – He came on, did some songs solo on his guitar (including Psycho Killer) then the curtain dropped behind him to reveal a full latin band who played lots of stuff from his awesome ‘Rei Momo’ album (one of my favourites) and from Talking Heads back catalogue – a brilliant night. What could be better than that? Tonight. Tonight could be better than most things I’ve seen performed live.
On the huge Leeds Arena stage he had 9 musicians and 2 dancers join him, all barefoot in snazzy grey suits, for a remarkably choreographed evenings entertainment. Each musician was a virtuoso and wandered the stage to great theatrical effect and the 2 dancers matched his moves in a slick performance the likes of which I’d never seen.
When ‘Naive Melody’ started Lee and I lept out of our seats and got down the front for a dance – everyone down there was just in 7th heaven, twirling their partners around and hugging each other. The bouncers, in true arena style, came and put a stop to that as the song finished but at least they let us have our moment. He finished his set with a ‘cover’ of Janelle Monáe’s ‘Hell you Talmbout’ that mentioned the names of black people killed by racial violence in America “Say his name, say his name!” – how many ‘stars’ with a back catalogue as good as his, would have given over their last song of the night to a protest song?
Amazing. Inspiring. Met up with loads of friends outside afterwards and we were all on a high, remembering different bits of the show (the shadows during ‘Blind’, when the percussionists were in a circle in one corner of the stage rotating slowly around whist the bass and guitarist were either side of Byrne doing the same but twice as fast, his introducing the band to show it was live and not recorded, How did they do that without any feedback? That bass player! That guitar solo!!). Can’t remember talking about a gig for so long afterwards – a real spectacular that I felt privileged to have seen.
Bob the Chiropodist