David Byrne and his band, including 3 singers and 3 dancers, played an ecstatic concert last night at Hamer hall dressed all in white, with the singers dancing and the dancers singing. Byrne twisted and twirled while playing his Fender Stratocaster (occasionally switching to a Telecaster) as the dancers flew around him.
The highlights for me were ‘Poor boy’ and ‘I feel my stuff’ from his current album Everything that happens will happen today, which was composed with Brian Eno (the title song comprised the third and final encore), and Once in a lifetime, but it was all extraordinary, blending songs from the three Talking Heads albums produced by Eno with songs from the new album and from their previous collaboration, My life in the bush of ghosts.
When he last played in Melbourne in February 2005 he had mostly the same band but different singers and a string section. Before that I saw him play in Perth in early 2002. This show was possibly the best – it’s so difficult to compare, particularly because this show had a theme that excluded most of Byrne’s wonderful solo work and many of the best known Talking Heads songs.
The banter between songs was minimal but he appeared happy and energised and what he did say was charming in a slightly dorky genius way. During the final bow after the third encore the drummer was videoing the audience with his digital camera and we all had the feeling that we had witnessed something special.
Before the concert started it was announced that the Red Cross would be collecting donations for bushfire aid and many people gave generously as they came out of Hamer hall enamoured with the music and happy to be safe and healthy when many Victorians are suffering.