Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I'll never Stop Making Sense

I TACKLED INSOMNIA headfirst the other night by finding The Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense on the tube. Ho. Lee. CRAP. This has to be the best concert film ever made.

I have the record, thanks to our good friend Ted Holt, and it's pretty good, but it's also a bit edited and only has half the songs of the film. You can say this about very few bands out there, but The Talking Heads have to be seen to be heard. They were art and form in the age of mediocre new wave music.

I remember seeing Stop Making Sense not long after it came out and I was too young and stupid to appreciate it. Maybe I'm not much smarter today, but the movie just smacked me in the face and left me in awe of a great band at the absolute peak of its live powers.

The movie begins with David Byrne coming on to the empty stage, hitting play on his boom box and launching into a riveting acoustic version of "Psycho Killer." Then the stage slowly gets built as the show progresses. Director Jonathan Demme wants to show the stagehands plugging stuff in. He wants you to see the drum riser wheeled out. He wants you to see the weird lighting and David Byrne hugging a lamp. The beauty is in the build and the anticipation.

Then there's the songs. Geesh - the funk just drips through every tune. Little wonder, since Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic and Alex Weir of Brothers Johnson are in the band.

I wonder what David Byrne did to get in shape for this tour. Run a marathon? Go to the gym every day all day for a year? Everybody in the band is moving around, most of the time in chaotic togetherness. If you watch them, you can see the sheer joy of playing and how much bleeping fun it can be.

There are a lot of people around here who should be required to watch this movie. A concert isn't just music, it's an event and a show, and nobody did it better than The Talking Heads.

I'm going to Stop Making Sense again. And again. And again. Just to see how it's done.

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