David Byrne takes on Citi Wang Theatre

A review of David Byrne at the Citi Wang Theatre on October 31

, Staff Writer

David Byrne treated a packed Wang Center to a brilliant performance spanning his three-decade career on Halloween night. Touring in support of his collaboration with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Byrne took the stage with a ten-piece ensemble and played for two hours, including three encores. The night focused on cuts from that album, with a healthy side of classic Talking Heads tunes, and was a dazzling production.&

Byrne’s roots as a designer are apparent in his stage productions. Framed by the Wang’s glamorous architecture, Byrne and his band dressed entirely in white and rolled and rollicked around the stage while keeping their music extremely tight. Three white-clad dancers added to the motion onstage, often joined by Byrne himself. Several band members added Halloween touches to their white outfits, and most of the audience wore costumes as well. I never thought I’d see a man dressed as a chicken dance up the aisles of the Wang Center, double fisting beer in plastic cups and singing along, but there it happened. Some members of the audience (and a few of the ushers) seemed a little taken aback by the party-like atmosphere, but remained appreciative of the performance and eventually loosened up a bit.& &

The concert was a mix of theatrical performance and rock show. Several dance numbers were choreographed to intricate lighting effects, and the audience seemed a mix of partiers and sitter-downers (note to the Sitter-Downers: stand up, this is rock n’roll, dude). Opening with “Strange Overtones”, Byrne had most of the crowd hooked from the start. Other new songs, like “Life is Long”, and “One Fine Day” had people groovin’ in the aisles. “Feel My Stuff” was a haunting, visually alive number,& but it was the old gems that shone brightest. “Life During Wartime” seemed strangely appropriate given the contrast between Byrne’s punk origins and the Wang Center’s glitzy façade.&

Byrne has endless energy onstage and poured it all into his performance. Sounding as good as ever, he moves around with a funky strut and never misses a beat. Some acts his age would take their audience for granted. Byrne obviously does not, and delivers a show as intriguing as it is exciting. Byrne’s three dancers, one male and two female, strode on and off the stage, appearing from one side or another and incorporating office chairs, mic stands, and Byrne himself into their performances. Some songs saw Byrne’s three singers joining in on the action and adding an even bigger dance element to the show, particularly the enigmatic “Feel My Stuff”, which opened with six dancers and a frantic, shattered-glass effect lightshow.&

“Heaven” was light and serious at the same time, and the “Take Me to the River” brought a little soul sound to the evening. “Once in a Lifetime” drew the night’s loudest cheers, and spawned a spontaneous dance party. Byrne closed with “Burning Down The House”, sporting a Phantom of the Opera-style mask and returning to the stage three times – the audience simply wouldn’t let him go. After 30 years of making music, David Byrne is still at the top of his game.

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