David Byrne At Shelburne Museum Monday June 1, 2009
Words by Tim Lewis.
The show was expensive at $51, and with the work situation looking like I won’t be there soon, I was pretty sure I should not spend the money. Conversely at the warehouse they have a disc of The Talking Heads live (Stop Making Sense) and I have really been enjoying it when it gets played frequently. In the end I worked overtime the Saturday before Memorial Day, and decided that money would be used for a ticket. Throwing caution to the wind I bought one, then asked Don for a ride.
The weather was predicted to be cool with a 50% chance of rain, so I put on the black and the suit coat, and brought a jacket and a raincoat too. Don and his wife Lisa stopped by to hang out for a bit then off we went. We stopped in downtown Burlington to pick up their son Alex then headed south to Shelburne.
We arrived at the museum and parked. I went to the will call tent as the others went to find a place to sit on the lawn. I wandered down the hill to a spot near the soundboard where they were set up. Cool, nice sight lines and you know the sound is going to be good there. The weather was a bit chilly but no rain. It was looking to be a good night.
After a moment or two, I realized I needed a beer, and headed to the enclosed alcohol area. I made it about 15 steps when I saw Josh Bridgman coming down the hill and at the same time to my right heard the word wombat spoken invitingly. I said hey to Josh and then hey to Rick who I have not seen for ages. Rick is such a cool guy and I only see him at classic shows, so it was nice to chat with him.
After a bit Josh and I went to get beer and chat about music. A couple of moments later a couple (Meghan and Rob) asked if we knew if Eno was going to be at the show. As David Byrne is doing all songs he worked on with Brian Eno for this tour, there were rumors that he had been appearing at some shows. Josh and I did not think it likely, but just the question provided and opening to a nice conversation between the four of us. It’s amazing how many cool people there are out there just waiting to be met.
Time seemed to float by insubstantially. The pastoral setting and impending greatness sat in harmony waiting for the show to begin. A while into our conversation someone took the stage to do announcements. After a quick chat with drummer Steve Hadeka, Josh and I headed to Don and Lisa’s blanket, and soon enough it was showtime.
It was still light out, but the band all dressed in white, and David with his white hair, stood out starkly against the stage. He made an announcement saying it was ok to take pictures with cell phones or cameras or whatever else, but politely asked that we delete any that made them look bad. Nice.
I knew the show for me was going to be a lot of uncharted territory with a few well-known favorites tossed in. As he opened with Strange Overtones, from his new album with Eno Everything that Happens will Happen Today, I tried to toss any expectation out of my mind and just listen to what was happening. The small band were exceptionally tight as they pounded out the spacey tight funk. David was on guitar and was joined by a bass player, a keyboardist, a drummer and a percussionist. There were three backing vocalists and together they made it sound great. The interpretive dancers showed up in the second song and added some fun to the evening, not that the music needed any more of it.
Everything was sounding great and though the temperature started chilly, it just stayed there, and never got cold. The next two songs showed the talent of the band and were fun, but it was song number four that really kicked things into high gear. I was not familiar with Help Me Somebody from the My Life in the Bush of Ghosts album, but live it was over the top fantastic. Yea, it was going to be a great night.
The funk kept going and the people at the front and to the left of the stage were up and dancing the whole time. About halfway into the set the unfamiliar took a back seat as they launched into the Talking Heads classic Heaven. It was so appropriate as we were all there. They followed with a couple more new ones and then hit the second highlight of the night with a stunning version of Crosseyed and Painless. It’s a great song and the version they played was outstanding. I so made the right call in going to the show.
Another new one followed and I headed to grab another beer. It’s so cool how you can see and hear so well from the beer area. They then launched into Once in a Lifetime and then kicked out an incredible Life During Wartime.
Another new one ended the set but not the night. We got a couple of encores with such songs as Take Me To the River and Burning Down the House. They then took it down a notch to end the evening on a quieter note with another new album’s title song and the band adding white tutus to their white outfits. It was great music and great fun, perfectly combined.
A feeling of bliss was over me as we walked to the car and headed home. It was about 10:45 when I got home, and returned to a place where time was again relevant.
This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog, https://timstriangletribune.wordpress.com.