As 2018 draws to a close, our music writers looks back on their favourite gigs and albums of the year.
By Duncan Seaman
Gig of the year
David Byrne at First Direct Arena
While it was a privilege to catch Paul Weller’s joyful career-spanning set at the First Direct Arena and one of Suede’s incendiary gigs to an audience of just 400 at the ever-excellent Brudenell Social Club, for breath-taking imagination David Byrne topped them all with his American Utopia show. Stripping the stage bare save for curtains and minimal lighting, the 66-year-old led his 11-piece band, barefoot and clad like him in grey shirts and suits, through an hour and three quarters-long carnival of music and dance – brilliantly choreographed by Annie-B Parson – that redefined the possibilities of arena concerts. After a rigorous workout during Burning Down The House and Janelle Monae’s Hell You Talmbout, the sweat-drenched euphoria on stage said it all. Byrne is quite simply up there with Kate Bush as one of the greatest live performers of our age.