David Byrne leaves crowd spilling into the aisles
By David Smyth
At 57, three decades since his band Talking Heads were at their peak, David Byrne could hardly be busier. From Saturday his art installation, Playing The Building, will turn Camden’s Roundhouse into a giant musical instrument; there is a book, his travelogueBicycle Diaries, published this week; and he’s back again on a tour that shows him at his musical, theatrical best and refuses to end.
For almost a year Byrne has been travelling the world with this show, which focuses on his work with producer and fellow egghead Brian Eno and takes in three Talking Heads albums and two albums as a duo. The latest, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, was released last year.
He wowed the South Bank with his white-clad band and unorthodox dancers in April. On his return to London he still merited his three encores, one in a tutu, and left an initially reserved crowd spilling into the aisles.
It’s surprising that more left-field artists don’t appropriate the trappings of the pop star’s arena spectacular for their own ends. Byrne had great fun with three dancers, becoming a white-haired Kylie who allowed them to slide between his legs, leapfrog him and harass his backing singers.
At the same time, his small band fully realised the complex Afrobeat of I Zimbra and swelling gospel of One Fine Day, the singer leading from the front with wiry funk guitar and his soaring croon.
Busy he may be but it would be impossible for an artist of this calibre to be overexposed.