David Byrne Revives His Dancing Days at Opening Show of Eno Tour
No doubt drawing on lessons learned from his collaboration with choreographer Twyla Tharp, David Byrne took his sold-out show Zoellner Arts Center in Bethelehem, PA, and created a show that used his various collaborations with producer Brian Eno (including the recent Everything That Happens Will Happen Today) and bodies in motion to advance the ambiguous narratives his multi-cultural rock — think of it as modern dance for people who don’t like modern dance.
Byrne — looking fit, trim and sporting a magnificent shock of silver hair — handled all guitar duties with surprising aplomb, expertly replicating the pneumatic wheeze of chords on “Home” and the angular funk of “Crosseyed And Painless.” He was backed by a keyboardist, drummer, bassist, percussionist, and three back up singers. By “Houses In Motion” the ensemble was joined by the dancers, who zig-zagged back and forth across the stage in ever-shifting formations, sometimes enjoining the backing singers in the choreography, and, just as often, Byrne himself, who even at 56 years old is still fleet of foot. Midway through “Once In A Lifetime,” one of the dancers literally vaulted Byrne while he took a guitar solo.
Following “Life During Wartime” — which turned the theater crowd into a de facto dance party — Byrne got a standing ovation (his third of the night) during the artsy hustle of “I Feel My Stuff,” which closed out the set. Byrne ended the night with a churchy, contemplative rendition of “Everything That Happens Happens Will Happen Today.” “Nothing is different, but nothing’s the same,” he sang, summing up the evening.