Tuesday, July 21, 2009

David Byrne: Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno | The Auditorium, Rome | 20 July, 2009

David Byrne - Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome
As sometimes happens over the summer months in Rome, there were a couple of major events running concurrently yesterday evening with a huge free concert in Piazza del Popolo to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first moon walk featuring Moby, whilst at the Auditorium Music Park a smaller but enthusiastic crowd had turned out to see an exhilarating show by ex-Talking Heads front man David Byrne. To see such an important musician and artist, whose back catalogue includes songs such as Once in a Lifetime, which occupy an almost iconic place in popular music history, is already an event in itself - that this tour sees him accompanied by an all-singing, all-dancing backing band reminded us that we were also in the presence of a consummate showman!

The Rome date was one of the stops in a mini-tour of Italy and included many tracks from last year’s collaboration with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, as well as revisiting their earlier, groundbreaking work together on the seminal My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and even earlier albums with Talking Heads. From the moment that Byrne et al walked on stage dressed entirely in white, lending the show a simple yet strikingly stylish look, a sense of sheer enthusiasm and fun pervaded the whole performance - when each and every band member appeared on stage wearing a tutu during one of the encores to play Burning Down the House and STILL manage to look cool, they brought the house down!

The perfect set list which mixed both old songs and new tracks underlined how classics from the Eno-produced Talking Heads albums Fear of Music and Remain in Light are timeless, sounding as fresh today as when they first appeared, and how absolutely relevant Byrne and Eno’s continued collaboration remains today. Coming back on stage to ecstatic whooping and hollering and foot stamping for a third (or was it fourth…I lost count!) encore, the concert came to a close with the alt-country/gospel strains of 'Everything That Happens Will Happen Today'.

Perfect.

David Byrne was joined on stage by:
  • Mauro Refosco - percussion
  • Paul Frazier - bass
  • Graham Hawthorne - drums
  • Mark Declination - keyboards
  • Kaissa Doumbe Moulongo, Ray Frazier, Jenni Muldaur - backing vocals
  • Lily Baldwin, Steven Reker, Natalie Kuhn - dancers


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