“Hi, I’m Dave and I’ll be your waiter this evening.”
What can I say? Who else could pull off the quirky choreography? Who else could burn down the house wrapped in guitar and tutu?
On Easter Sunday, the husband and I boarded the 188 bus to wind our way through southeast London to catch David Byrne play the songs that he and Brian Eno have made together over the years at the Royal Festival Hall. The Jubilee line is getting some major work done on it (it’s never open on weekends), so it was onto the bus we climbed. This suited us just fine. It takes longer but the view’s better. We were able to get the top front seats, and sit back and relax. The only problem with the long ride was I was pretty hungry and someone behind me had some nice smelling Indian food. It made me crave the Dosa Man, a street vendor in New York City that our good friend introduced us to last summer.
“I’m couting all the possibilities, for dancing on this lazy afternoon…”
David Byrne is known to hop on his bike and explore the cities on his tour, so our position on the bus left us in prime position for David Byrne spotting. We saw lots of commuters, some bmx-ers, and nearly took out an old lady on a scooter. But, no David Byrne.
That was all right. I am sure he was running over some last minute changes to the office chair choreography. Or just really bored. (From an almost daily chronicle, his enthusiasm for describing the world around him along his voyage drops off after Belfast.) Now, I don’t like to read reviews before I go to see anyone I really enjoy, but Crunchy husband had told me that Mr. Byrne had gotten some mixed reviews on his integration of dancers within the set. Quirky movements, detached expressions, unpointed toes? It suited his style perfectly.
The show opened exactly as I’d hoped: with an open invitation to take pictures, despite the sign out front that said no video or photography allowed. Unfortunately, I then took nothing but crappy pictures. We were instructed to post only the good ones online. I disobeyed. Sorry, Dave.
Every person on stage performed the entire evening dressed only in white. I was skeptical about this at first, but it worked really well with the lighting cues. They acted as a canvas, especially in ‘I Feel My Stuff’. It took it to another level.
The set was a mixture of old Talking Heads and Bush of Ghosts collaborations and new songs from the Everything that Happens Will Happen Today album. No ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody,’ but I suppose Brian Eno didn’t have much of a hand in that one. It was continuously energetic and grooving. Guitar jogging is in this season.
The best thing about the music throughout the evening is that it made me forget where I was and appreciate exactly where I was at the same time. It makes me think and not think at the same time. It makes me feel. I guess I have various emotional memories tied to David Byrne performances. I remember walking out of the Warfield late at night in San Francisco and the Crunchy man putting his arm around me to ‘protect me.’ (Puh-lease!) Thinking about it, it may have been the first concert we went to together. I remember crying in the bathroom at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. It was my first trip to England, we were in a major transition period – Us again? In England? Would it work? – and I’d just been told that “being myself” had “scared” the Crunchy man’s brother. Obviously, we got through it.
My life has just entered a new phase again (hence lag, lag lag on the blogging front). A good one, I hope, ripe for personal development and new experiences. I take from the Royal Festival Hall happy memories of good beats, dancing (thank goodness the auditorium atmosphere didn’t stop people from standing), and thoughts of my life and family.