David Byrne @ Edinburgh Playhouse, 8 Aug

Via The Skinny

By Paul Mitchell

★★★★★

At first, the dance routines aren’t quirky, merely irritating, superfluous, technically average and maybe just a tad pretentious. Suddenly, perhaps during Life Is Long (where a white-suited Byrne and his similarly attired dancers swivel in unison on their office chairs) it all starts making sense. Of course, that Byrne can take such absurdity and turn it into something both hilarious and moving is no surprise given his enduring legacy and irrefutable coolness.

Then there's the music. Mining the myriad of his collaborations with super-producer Brian Eno, Help Me Somebody (from 1981’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts) is suitably imposing, if less cluttered than on record. One Fine Day (from last year’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today) also proves an uplifting highlight, but in reality it's the Talking Heads material which makes a farce of staging this show in an all-seater venue. Remarkably, despite his 57 years, Byrne’s distinctive voice has actually improved; no matter how hard the audience might try (and they do, goddamn), there's no matching his gusto and compelling delivery on Life During Wartime and the enduring Once in a Lifetime, where he shows that he still dances the Marionette like none other.

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