North-East Concert was once in a lifetime gig

Via icNewcastler

By Rhodri Phillips

David Byrne has spent nearly three decades experimenting with musical styles as diverse as punk, opera and rumba.

And last night the Scottish-born New Yorker was at the Opera House in Newcastle exploring his extensive and eclectic back catalogue.

Byrne, the co-founder of seminal rockers Talking Heads, won an Oscar in 1987 for co-writing the score to Bernardo Bertolucci's film The Last Emperor.

And it was with some of his work for film that he began his set - Glass, Concrete and Stone, which features on his latest album Grown Backwards. Byrne shuffled and swayed his way round the stage in a rather fetching boiler suit and sharp white shoes, bantering with the audience. At one point he sat down on an amplifier to listen to the soaring strings of his mini-orchestra.

But it was when he revisited the Talking Heads songbook that he and his audience were at their most animated. On The Road to Nowhere had people out of their seats and the opening bars of Once In A Lifetime had them dancing in the aisles. Both songs sounded huge, the band's two drummers driving the song along. And then to alter the mood Byrne sang a song in Latin - Un die Felice from Verdi's La Traviata - Byrne's delicate vocals accompanied by plucked strings and a xylophone.

And just when you thought the chameleon had played his last musical card he came back for an encore, which included Lazy - his surprise dance hit from 2002.

At one point last night Byrne joked that one of his many guitars only had a "fifty-fifty chance of survival".

The man himself is fighting fit.

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