By Roger LeLievre
Let the record show that the crowd started dancing five songs into David Byrne's two-hour Michigan Theater set Friday night. By show's end, band members definitely weren't the only ones sweating.
Byrne, of 1980s new wave group Talking Heads' fame, was in town to play songs from his latest CD, a collaboration with art-rocker Brian Eno called "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today." Dressed all in white, he offered several songs from that effort, however Byrne, his band, backup singers and - yes - a group of modern dancers adding a visual element, also dug deep into the Byrne/Eno and TH catalog.
Although some of the new material, such as "I Feel Myself," was strong, those songs didn't seem to interest the crowd as much as the classics. "Houses in Motion" almost stopped the show, while "Once in A Lifetime," "Life During Wartime" and "Take Me to the River" were just about perfect. Among the show's other highlights were the Talking Heads' early hit, "Burning Down the House" and a version of the seldom-performed Heads' tune "Air, " offered during the second ovation.
The three dancers were energetic to the extreme and intriguingly-choreographed (especially during the new "Life is Long," which they performed seated in swivel chairs). Some may have found them distracting, but I found the dancers proof that Byrne, now 56, is still willing to experiment.
I've been reviewing shows for years and seldom have I heard such an enthusiastic ovation as Byrne was given. Every decibel of it was deserved. He remains a superb showman, he's was in fine voice, and his new material shows he still has an edge. Adding the dancers was just the icing on the cake.