The David Byrne concert was great.
The Commodore Ballroom is a pretty classy setup – a big stage, dance floor resting on ball bearings (for extra bounce), lots of tables and easy bar access. So, after being ushered inside, Justin and I found a table in a corner and waited.
The opener was Joe Henry. He and his band played some nice bluesy rock stuff. I really liked it and after a bit went down to the floor to enjoy it.
He finished his set and as I turned around to walk back to the table, I immediately spotted Justin sitting there, somehow not really blending into the crowd. And it seemed like he spotted me right away, my t-shirt was loud enough that it could be picked out of the audience.
It’s funny how you can identify some people from a distance based just on their posture or based on some gesture. I can’t think of what it is, but it seems like I’ve witnessed some noteable example of this somewhere recently.
After a little time, I wanted to go back to the floor to find a good spot, Justin wasn’t ready to go down. I took off, but first took a detour to the restroom. When I found a good spot on the floor, I looked up to the table and Justin wasn’t there. I craned my neck around, trying to spot him on the floor, but no luck.
A couple of guys behind me were talking about how crowded it was, speculating on the effect this would have on the bouncing dance floor, and how Byrne was hiding out in the tour bus or something. They talked about these things as if they weren’t there, as if they were watching it on television.
So I eventually spotted Justin and worked my way over to him. I said we should get closer, but he was skeptical about whether or not we’d be able to. Strength in numbers, I said, and followed closely behind a girl who was weaving her way closer to the stage, Justin followed behind me.
We found a good spot and Byrne started playing pretty soon after. He strolled out on stage in his messy grey hair. They did some tunes from the new album, and a few Talking Heads classics. (Little side-note: The bass player had 5 strings on his bass, which I thought was interesting. Is this very common?) I glanced over at Justin a few times and he was raising his arms at some key points and lip-synching to some hooks, which I interpreted as meaning that he was having a good time.
After the first handful of songs, Byrne brought out a six-piece orchestral string section. And they filled out the sound pretty nicely. He set aside the guitar for a couple of pieces (there wasn’t a second guitar player) for some violin-driven songs. At one point he played a few oddball songs from soundtracks and such and included a song from The Forest, which was kind of an ambient piece. A little out of place in a rock show, but not quite a show-stopper and it kind of showcased the string section, I liked it.
They played a pretty broad mix of his songs, which was pretty nice.
Near the end, Byrne and the bass player were getting kind of giddy in response to something that was happening at the far right in front of the stage. I’m not sure what was happening.
They finished up the set. Byrne, the bass player, and the two percussion players made a gracious exit and the stage was darkened. The string section stayed on the darkened stage between two staged encores. The requisite cover-song was Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
At their final exit, Someone from the audience gave Byrne a sunflower and a plate of shots for the band.
Great show. Lots of fun.
We headed back to the hostel and crashed. Got up early and headed south of the border.