Happy Birthday David Byrne: Performing Talking Heads Songs On American Utopia Tour
By Andy Kahn
Multidimensional artist David Byrne was born in Scotland on this date 66 years ago today. Relocated to the United States at an early age, Byrne has been at the cusp of cultural, technological and artistic trends since co-founding the seminal early-1970s new wave band Talking Heads.
Byrne is currently touring in support of his first solo album in 14 years American Utopia. The tour’s setlist incorporates several songs from the solo record, as well as many classics originally recorded by Talking Heads.
Along with bassist Tina Weymouth, keyboardist Jerry Harrison and drummer Chris Frantz, Byrne and Talking Heads were integral to the late ‘70s stylistic punk shift that was incubated in such New York City clubs as CBCG where the quartet were regulars. The following decade saw the band rise in popularity as the moved from small NYC clubs to larger venues around the world. Turmoil between the members of the group — which by then often was supported by a number of additional musicians – led Talking Heads to break-up in 1991. Residual tensions remain, making a reunion unfortunately unlikely.
Since seeing Talking Heads live in concert is not currently an option, seeing a Byrne show is perhaps the next best thing. Byrne described the American Utopia Tour as “the most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense.” Byrne is joined on stage by drummers Mauro Refosco, Tim Keiper, Aaron Johnston, Gustavo Di Dalva, Davi Vieira and Daniel Freedman, backing vocalists Chris Giarmo and Simi Stone, bassist Bobby Wooten, guitarist Angie Swan and keyboardist Karl Mansfield.
For a taste of the American Utopia Tour and a sampling of how Byrne’s approaching those new wave favorites likes “Once In A Lifetime,” “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” “Once In A Lifetime,” “Burning Down The House,” and deeper cuts from the Heads’ repertoire like “I Zimbra” and “The Great Curve,” below is a collection of audience-made video from various recent shows.
[I Zimbra | Captured by Tim Stephenson]
[This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) | Captured by Gregory Marcus]
[Once in a Lifetime | Captured by Jonathan Gavin]
[Blind | Captured by Christine Zap]
[Burning Down the House | Captured by Jonathan Gavin]
[The Great Curve | Captured by Josh Daniel]