Thursday, June 9, 2011


The man who reinvented the rock film with the amazing choreography in Stop Making Sense does it again in this DVD.  I don't say that lightly.  While some of you prefer The Last Waltz or Woodstock or some other, my vote for the best-ever rock flick goes to the Talking Heads number, famous for Byrne's Big Suit.  Now, like that tour, he's created a stage show with unique and riveting visuals that compliment the music and translate well to home video.

This was for the tour for Byrne's latest, and quickly forgotten collaboration with Brian Eno.  Since Eno wasn't going to join him live, the restless Byrne needed another stage idea, since he never just plays.  This time, he came up with a plan to incorporate a small dance troupe of three.  Invited some choreographers he admired in NYC, the show was developed using the whole band, and especially the trio of backing singers and Byrne himself as dancers as well.  Yes, they really danced.  With everyone costumed in white, excited choreography was added to Byrne and Talking Heads favourite tracks.  In one of the best moments, the three dancers kept moving the mic stands around the stage, with the singers having to follow them to make their cues.  For another tune, the dancers all join Byrne with guitars, strumming away in a square.  Sometimes they'd just dance, but almost always their was a concept for each song, or a new grouping, such as a dancer teaming with a backing singer for moves.

The video is broken up between the songs, with interview and rehearsal segments to explain the conception and ideas.  Sometimes, this breaks up an otherwise enjoyable concert, and I'm not thrilled with it, but there's a remarkable editing job done on I Zimbra which jumps from the stage to the rehearsal hall, and it's the best piece in the film, so I'm not going to complain too much. 

Musically, I didn't get much from the new Byrne/Eno songs, and I guess I'm into this for the old hits such as Burning Down The House and Once In A Lifetime.  But Byrne himself is as captivating as ever, and proving himself a mighty force.  He does lots of dancing on every song, which means some serious choreography.  Plus he ain't lip-synching Britney.  And, he's handling all the guitar duties in the band.  Take that, Beyonce.  And those old Heads hits still rock.  Same As It Ever Was.

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