BY RYAN "PC ZOO" BRADFORD
I'm rarely moved to religious comparisons when talking about concert experiences, but there must have been a higher power at work for David Byrne's performance at Red Butte Gardens last night. Not only did the event coincide with Father's Day and the Summer Solstice, but dark clouds threatened to explode until Byrne took stage. As soon as he appeared, adorned from head to toe in angelic white, the clouds retreated in reverence.
Byrne graced the audience with songs spanning his illustrious career, from his days in Talking Heads up to his collaboration with Brian Eno on last year's fantastic electro-soul album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. It's hard to imagine another veteran musician who still takes artistic risks AND enjoys performing as much as Byrne. Even though the guy's pushing 60 years old, he still had the gusto to see his choreographed dancers (similarly-dressed in white) through nearly every song.
The music was an even mix of funky, older songs and the mellow new ones. One of the highlights was when he busted out a song from his and Eno's first record: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. "There were no vocals on that record," he said, "only found sound bits... which we now commonly call 'samples'". He then went on to sing the 'samples.' He was also happy to oblige the crowd with Talking Heads hits including "Once in a Lifetime", "Life During Wartime", and the surprising "Road To Nowhere", a song that he said they hadn't played before. I would've felt bad that he didn't fulfill the request of prepubescent kids behind me screaming "PSYCHO KILLER!" if didn't find it so damn unnerving.
It's hard to find a bigger Talking Heads fan than my dad, so he was at Byrne's performance last October at the Eccles Center in Park City. He said that the two performances were pretty similar, except that they didn't wear the tutus for "Burning Down the House" during their second (out of three) encores. Yeah, tutus. I don't think I've ever seen my dad happier.