By Preston Jones
Once an exacting young man at the forefront of the art-damaged New Wave movement, ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has mellowed (a bit) into an elder statesman of indie rock.
These days, rather than trend-setting, Byrne is content to mentor upstarts like Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors in the ways of iconoclastic self-expression.
But that doesn’t mean that he’s coasting on past accomplishments. Just last year, Byrne re-teamed with producer/performer Brian Eno, with whom he made 1981’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, for a new, gospel-tinged album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
For two hours Sunday night at the Majestic Theatre, Byrne, sans Eno, rolled through much of Today with energy that belies his 57 years. As much a piece of performance art as an actual performance, Byrne delighted in smashing the boundaries between artistic disciplines, incorporating modern dance into idiosyncratic pop-rock songs and practically pulling the all-too-eager audience onstage with him.
Clad in white, from his shoes to his electric guitar, Byrne sounded as passionate and engaged as he did on seminal Heads albums like 1979’s Fear of Music and 1983’s Speaking in Tongues.
While much of the night was given over to his collaborations with Eno, the four-piece band, three backup singers and trio of dancers also found time to work in classics like "Burning Down the House" and "Life During Wartime."
Far from simply milking nostalgia for easy cash, Byrne hurtled along with an admirable intensity, perfectly at ease amid the striking displays of expressionistic athleticism.
Still quirky and still capable of melding a religious fervor and resolutely unique style with angular melodies, Byrne delivered a totally thrilling evening of music. Like the man sings, "Same as it ever was."