Dressed from head-to-toe in angelic white, David Byrne and his band floated onto the gold-framed Radio City Music Hall stage at about 8:15 pm on February 27th, 2009. This was the first of two shows in New York City, capping off a long string of dates before the band hits the road again for most of March and April to work their way through Europe. With instruments in hand and the room tight with buzzing energy, the band seemed ready to unleash until something amazing happened, something that you rarely see these days: David Byrne spoke.
Now, I don’t mean it was amazing to see David Byrne in particular speak; just do a YouTube search and you can probably find footage of Byrne giving two cents on almost any topic. Rather, just seeing someone start a concert with words felt startling and unique. Rock Performance Commandment #1 dictates that thy show must begin with the punctuation of a fiery first number, immediately drawing the crowd in before they have a moment to take a breath. But not with David Byrne, no sirree. Instead, Byrne unleashed a completely awkward and unpolished greeting, stuttering out thoughts on the last few shows the band had played, what the audience could expect tonight and his own excitement to be back in New York City.
Link to David Byrne’s Journal where he gives a personal account of the show.
Benham Jones currently lives in New York City with his four year old cat Stella. He considers himself a writer, a filmmaker and a musician, although he also considers himself none of those things. He is recently unemployed.