David Byrne, Spark Arena

17 November 2018 


The decision to see David Byrne was made fairly late, only a few days to go and a few seats to choose from. So I didn't have the best seat in the house, the view was OK if you don't mind some clear perspex not exactly obstructing, but not exactly easy to overlook either. Ah well, my fault for prevaricating for months. 

Byrne's set starts with a solitary desk with a model brain in its centre, with silver chain surrounding the stage. Birdsong fills the arena, in lieu of warm up music. It's... different, and it's the centrepiece of the first song, Here, and it's enthralling. 

More of the band come out for the second number, all in grey suits and bare feet, and in tight choreography, no fixed instruments, all strapped and wireless. It's got the air of a village festival. 

And that's the vein of the whole show, minimalist, stylish, theatrical and full of movement. No playbacks, no samples, just musicianship and dance that are totally the bomb. 

It's a David Byrne, not a Talking Heads concert, but there's enough Talking Heads to bring the crowd to their feet for Once in a Lifetime, This Must be the Place and Burning Down the House. And my proximity to the perspex screen gave me a nice little platform on the stairs to have my own time on my feet without obstructing anyone's view. 

For all that the crowd loved the older songs, the strength of Byrne as a composer and performer was on fine display throughout all his American Utopia tracks. It was a concert that was out of the box.