Music Review: David Byrne, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Via Liverpool Echo

By Liverpool Echo

Who knew the road to nowhere ran through Liverpool?

Clearly hundreds, considering the turn-out for former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne at the Phil.

Byrne, the Scottish-American godfather of New Wave, whose once dark locks have now turned brilliant white, still attracts the kind of following most artists of his generation would die for.

The cries of “Go on Davy, lad!” which marked his arrival on stage created an atmosphere somewhere between an art-school rock concert and a darts match, and Byrne fitted right in.

There’s something quite incredible about how an artist one imagines would take himself very seriously is able to come across so down to earth.

So down to earth, in fact, he must have had the bean counters in tears when he told the gleeful audience to take as many photos as they liked.

So much for copyright, but a wily old rock-dog like Byrne is canny enough to know all publicity - especially free publicity - is good publicity.

As well as trotting out all the hits, including the stomping ‘Heaven (is a place where nothing ever happens)’ and ‘Cross-eyed and Painless’, the man who gave us ‘Psycho Killer’ and ‘Burning Down the House’ also treated the audience to a number of his collaborations with Brian Eno from the album ‘My Life in the Bush with Ghosts’.

The band were absolutely pitch perfect, although the most memorable spectacle of the night was not music, but dance.

Byrne had in his retinue a clutch of dancers whose mixture of acrobatics and robotics had me suspicious he was laundering arts council money.

But their moves were no match, it has to be said, for who had to be the biggest, baldest guy in the packed auditorium.

Unable to hold it in any longer, he spontaneously jumped to his feet and started bopping alone in the aisles until the security guard bumbled over and told him to groove his way back into his seat.

But eventually the dam broke and everyone was on their feet to create a buzz that the Phil is maintaining well.

A superb show, and proof that next time Byrne is treading this stretch of the road to nowhere, he is welcome in Liverpool.

On fire: 9/10

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