ACL review: David Byrne

Via Austin Music Source

By Joe Gross

“One fine daaaaay,” David Byrne sang from the AT&T stage Friday evening at Zilker Park and boy howdy was it. Dusk is always a fun time at ACL — the setting sun takes the edge off the day’s heat, and soft light fills the sky. “Then before my eyes — Is standing still/I beheld it there — a city on a hill,” he sang. There it was, right behind him, Austin at magic hour.

Playing his second set in two days, Byrne and his band of white-clad musicians, dancers and back-up singers cranked out a roiling set of Talking Heads hits and material from his new collaboration with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. As with his show Thursday night at the Paramount Theatre (and every show on this tour), Byrne drew on previous collaborations with Eno such as “Once in a Lifetime” and “Houses in Motion,” making it a theme for the tour.

Some elements worked better on the Paramount stage and some worked better at Zilker. The dancers, who already looked under rehearsed (unless it was supposed to look a little “off”) at the Paramount were completely swallowed up by the massive AT&T stage. But Byrne’s guitar was audible throughout the Zilker set, something you couldn’t say about the Paramount and its somewhat wonky acoustics. Like the Paramount set, the newer material blended seamlessly with older hits, though when the band hit “Once in a Lifetime,” with its angelic synth-drone, crisp poly-rhythms and Zen-like lyrics — it really is one of the pop highlights of the past 30 years.

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