David Byrne: Live Last Night
We know Ted Leonsis is D.C.'s best sports owner, but now we know something else: He's a David Byrne fan. At Byrne's show at Wolf Trap last night, Leonsis took a seat around sixth row center during DeVotchka's opening set. The savvy Caps owner sat politely through the Denver combo's gypsy-indie rock, but he -- like almost everyone else -- bopped happily along to Byrne's continuation of the successful "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" tour, based on his collaboration with seminal pop eccentric Brian Eno.
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
Ted and the near-capacity crowd even deserve a few kudos, since they didn't let the show's overreliance on Talking Heads classics and frivolous dance routines get in the way of a good time.
Of course, an entire evening devoted to mining the more obscure melodic nuggets of the Byrne/Eno mind-meld might not have filled up the Filene Center (where "Burning Down the House" takes on a whole new meaning). So, hearing the lush, rolling choruses of the duo's recent gems "One Fine Day" and "Life Is Long" plus two pieces from 1981's spine-tingling "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" amongst a series of predictable Heads standards were rousing highlights -- and about as heady as mainstream, outdoor summer rock gets.
Byrne and his sizable troupe of musicians/percussionists/dancers (clad in white to presumably match their leader's shock of hair) have been performing this show since last fall -- including a stop in D.C. last November -- so the set's air of workmanlike rigidity was understandable.
Harder to fathom were certain dance interludes, in which leaping and flailing felt like little more than attempt to perk up a few tired tunes. That's the kind of crutch a first-rate artist like Byrne has rarely been guilty of leaning on.
-- PATRICK FOSTER
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