Why This Gig?
I’ve been a fan of David Byrne since first hearing “Psycho Killer” about thirty-five years ago. And I’ve never seen him live. This was a great opportunity to put that right.
So when I first heard that they were making an album together, I knew I had to see the live show. The album is called Love This Giant and it’s really good.
Did I mention that support acts were going out of fashion?
Love This Giant is a largely brass-driven album. So it’s no surprise that the band consist largely of people playing brass instruments. There are eight brass players, a drummer and a keyboardist. Any guitars come from David Byrne or St Vincent. That was, of course, always going to work well for tracks from the album, but it was surprising how well it also worked for the older material they played.
The setlist was drawn from all over the two artists careers. There were Talking Heads songs, David Byrne Songs and St Vincent songs. There was even room for “Strange Overtones” from Byrne’s most recent collaboration with Brian Eno. It was a nice mixture of material. I’m a huge Talking Heads fan, so it would have been easy for the four Talking Heads songs to be obvious highlights. That didn’t happen though and the other material stood up very well against classics like “Burning Down The House” and “Road to Nowhere”.
The staging of the show was fun too. The eight brass musicians were all very mobile which made the show very dynamic. Sometimes they were adopting highly staged poses across the stage, at others they were promenading around the stage in a bizarre brass band conga.
Byrne and St Vincent joined in with this too. Byrne did plenty of his exaggerated bad dancing that you’ll remember from plenty of Talking Heads videos. And St Vincent has this strange skittering walk that she sometimes uses to get her back to the microphone surprisingly quickly. It all comes together to give the show an endearingly amateur look. But one that you know has been carefully honed in order to look amateur.
The show was every bit as great as I expected it to be. Easily one of the best things I’ve seen this year. If they are performing near you, then I highly recommend that you get a ticket (or, rather, that you go back in time and buy a ticket back when they went on sale – they are likely to be sold out now).
The setlist is on Setlist.fm.