And You May Ask Yourself: Why is David Byrne So Awesome?

The skeptical cardiologist was a second year medical student when the Talking Heads released their debut album, Talking Heads 77. Along with Elvis Costello and The Clash, the Talking Heads kept my spirit alive between crushing sessions of memorizing microbiologic, biochemical and anatomic minutiae.
The band went on to a very successful and highly influential career. I followed them closely through 1985’s commercially successful album, Little Creatures, which features two of my favorite songs from the mid to late 1980s “And She Was” and “Road To Nowhere.”
David Byrne, the idiosyncratic songwriter and frontman for the
Talking Heads, is currently on a concert tour in support of his solo album American Utopia  
We caught his performance in St. Louis at the Peabody Opera House Friday night and I have one word to describe it: awesome!
Daniel Durcholz’s review for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did a much better job of summing it up than I could. He wrote:

I’m impressed with the back strength of the keyboard player (upper right). To dance/walk with (I’m guessing) a 61 key synthesizer and play at the same time seems quite difficult.

an eye-popping, mind-blowing concert that was achieved without the aid of props, video screens, or even a conventional stage set. Byrne’s 11-piece band — each of them clad in a gray suit and barefoot, like Byrne himself — carried their instruments like members of a marching band, allowing them to dance and assemble in various formations.

Beaded curtains lined the sides and back of the stage, forming a boxlike space that the musicians could perform within, effortlessly exiting and entering as needed.
Several songs featured a bright light source mysteriously moving around the stage, casting gigantic, fascinating shadows. That is Byrne front and center with guitar. Sitting in the balcony gave good views of the three-dimensional movement and positioning of the players

The overall look and feel of the show was hyper-theatrical, yet utterly human at its core. There were no backing tracks, Byrne emphasized at one point. “Everything you hear is being played by these incredible musicians,” he said.

No stranger to innovation, Byrne reinvented the concert experience in the Talking Heads’ 1984 film “Stop Making Sense.” This current outing is, if anything, even more radical and engaging.

Stop Making Sense is considered by many to be the greatest concert film of all time ((although I’m sure the eternal fiancee’ would place The Last Waltz above SMS) )but I think a Jonathan Demme or Martin Scorcese film of David Byrne’s current concerts might claim that honor.
Until such film is released this performance of “Everybody’s Coming to My House” (arguably the best song on his new album) by Byrne and his band on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will have to suffice.

The information available through the internet never ceases to amaze me. You can click here to see exactly what Byrne played Friday night complete with links to the songs and/or videos of the songs.
If you click on the 9th song on the setlist you will be taken to this iconic existential video:

So, if you ever liked the Talking Heads or just love good music try to catch David Byrne’s show..
You might find yourself singing along with him as the audience did last Friday night the following words:
And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?
And you may find yourself asking “Why is David Byrne so Awesome?”
Letting the days go By,
h/t Lauren at for alerting me to Byrne’s St. Louis concert.


8 thoughts on “And You May Ask Yourself: Why is David Byrne So Awesome?”

  1. Saw the Talking Heads shortly after their 1975 debut in Hartford CT. Best concert I ever went to.. h Rob’t Silverstein, MD, FACC

  2. Wow! Just when I thought you were already untoppable, I learn of your admiration of one of my absolutely favorite musical artists EVER! Guess I will be following the skeptical cardiologist forever.??✌

  3. Dear ACP,
    Thank you for your stunning review.
    My wife is a long-time Bryne fan, so I found great tickets for his 8/10 performance in Detroit (we will have to fly from Seattle).

  4. Dr. Pearson:
    You are awesome!
    I was born in 1947 and still consider myself a rocker. My wife Kathleen Albright is one of your patients, and one of our first dates was to a Led Zeppelin concert. I survived, and now she even goes with me to shows about Janis Joplin, the Beatles, Air Supply, etc.
    Keep dancin and rockin!
    Larry Albright
    Peace be with you.


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