INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
BBC APRIL 13, 2009 - by Rodrigo Davies
BYRNEING THE HOUSE
Talking Heads man showcases his hits.
David Byrne wowed London's Royal Festival Hall last night with a showcase of some of his biggest hits with Talking Heads and Brian Eno.
Eno didn't appear at the show, but Byrne opened and concluded the performance with tracks from their latest album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, the title track making up the third and final encore.
The show was the headline event of this year's Ether festival at London's South Bank Centre.
Last night's performance was accompanied by a trio of dancers who at times were interchangeable with the backing singers, and Byrne himself was characteristically rhythmical on stage, recalling Talking Heads' famous Stop Making Sense music video.
Within the set the dancers also improvised choreography to parts of The Catherine Wheel, a Broadway show written with Twyla Tharp to which Byrne provided the music.
Byrne said in an interview with the BBC last week that the dancers had been inspired by a Sufjan Stevens performance, and partly out of a desire to surprise the audience.
Well, the showman certainly got his wish although fans afterwards said that the unpredictable, offbeat nature of the dancing was very befitting of the music.
Talking Heads tracks like Take Me To The River and Houses In Motion had all of their original energy; the compelling polyrhythms for which Eno is given much credit by the band were, unsurprisingly, achieved with two drummers.
The crowd at the prestigious venue were on their feet for most of the performance, greeting hits like Burning Down The House and Once In A Lifetime with rapturous applause.
Even the most casual fan of Byrne's work - although it's unlikely there were many in attendance - couldn't help but be caught up in the energy of what was an extraordinary show.
Among the many musician fans in the crowd were Cocknbullkid and Animal Collective's Panda Bear.
Eno's absence was widely expected, although his earlier involvement in the festival stoked rumours that he might appear on stage with Byrne
Byrne and Eno first worked together on Talking Heads' second album More Songs About Buildings And Food but initially recorded as a duo on 1981's My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts - an album they finally followed up last year with Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
Postscript: David Byrne was joined on stage by Brian Eno in the second of the two gigs, on April 13.