The Scottish singer David Byrne is considered to be a musical phenomenon of New York. With his band Talking Heads, he shaped the music scene beyond all the cliches. He was the first to integrate African rhythms and make funk socially acceptable. His band had an almost flawless discography and is considered a musical legend now. Talking Heads also revolutionized the way other musical bands perform today. The best example of this was their legendary Stop Making Sense tour as Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme documented the show for the film of the same name.
For the first time on the tour, a band choreographed their performances down to the last detail. Around three years ago, David Byrne decided to put on such an elaborate show again. The occasion was his newly released solo album called American Utopia, which initially thrilled fans all over the world and landed a show in New York’s Broadway. The notorious director Spike Lee took on the show and documented the extraordinary performance for a movie. American Utopia in Broadway is now in theatres and available on HBO. David Byrne explains the basic idea behind the design of American Utopia in the trailer. What would happen if he removed all known elements from a live show? What would be left? It is just the musicians themselves and their instruments. The show is reduced to the complete minimum. Nothing distracts the audience. The result was downright mind-blowing. It has been in Broadway for around two years now.
An Exceptional Show
In fact, on his show, Byrne has eliminated all the elements that a live show usually has. There are a dozen musicians on stage, you can see no light show, no platforms, no cables and no show effects. All of this is necessary for everybody to only listen to the musicians and their art. A silver-coloured bead curtain frames the stage itself. That also serves as a flexible entrance and an exit for a constantly changing band line-up. The musicians wear their instruments around their necks. Not a single cable disturbs the sequence of the show, which thrives on the energetic immaculately choreographed dance interludes. During this madness, David Byrne conducts his unleashed colleagues and guides them through music and dance excellence. The atmosphere boils over when the band marches around the entire theatre at the end of the show in Road to Nowhere.
Musically, the rousing show offers an overview of David Byrne’s career to date. You can hear numerous Talking Heads classics here and songs from the latest album American Utopia. Spike Lee’s film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. As before, the criticism was enthusiastic about the live show. American Utopia on Broadway is already considered one of the best musicals of all time and can easily rival Talking Heads’ classic Stop Making Sense. Now, the movie is back in cinemas worldwide.