David Byrne & St. Vincent
(Love This Giant)
October 15, 2012
Somewhere between The Lion King, The King and I and anything else with King (according to David Byrne) is this show. The Orpheum Theater was nice enough to squeeze in a non-show between it all. And I could only be so lucky to see more shows performed there.
The Orpheum Theatre is a really beautiful theater with exquisite views. I have a feeling that whereever you are seated, you will have a great sightline. I was in the mezzanine and for once I was happy I wasnt in the orchestra. To watch all of the moves and see every last thing was worth it.
David announced from the beginning that the use of cell phones, cameras, videos, etc were definitely ok. He didn’t seem to mind anything, but said we might want to enjoy it without a black box in front of us. He was definitely right. The crowd, for the most part, rarely used their phones/cameras – sneaking it out once in a while to get a picture or two. And what a crowd it was. A respectful crowd that was beyond appreciative and beyond excited.
Finally, around 8:15 David Byrne comes out with St. Vincent (Annie Clark). Him sporting a white/black suit and her in a blue dress that might have been 2 separate pieces. They both looked great. The band, a 10 piece brass orchestra, also was sporting black/white attire. The band is more or less led by Kelly Pratt of Bright Moments, a Brooklyn band. He has also played with Beirut, Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. The entire orchestra was comprised of members of other Brooklyn bands. Most notably was a trumpet player from Yellow Ostrich.The show itself was simply awesome and beautiful. The songs off of ‘Love This Giant’ sounded great, even better than what I had heard streaming. The stark dance moves mostly seemed robotic. It was clearly choreographed and most times the band members were nearly stalking their prey (David and Annie). They would move around them, the horns blaring into their faces, as they circled them and taunted them. It was like being in the jungle as the performers all had their own moves. At times, Annie would lean against one of the guys and go to work like a mad scientist on her guitar. It was raw and it was passionate.
A lot of the songs were performed with either Annie or David at the mic. The other almost disappearing into the background, but then they’d join the other, and as quickly retreat. This really got to showcase all of their talents. He is the perfect frontman and great leader. He took the band from song to song. The highlight (not speaking of all the covers!), was ‘Cheerleader’. The band, save for Annie and Rachel (another band member), was lying on the floor and soon were playing their instruments lying on their backs. It was pretty incredible watching these trumpeters play on their back. They slowly got up and the whole piece was extraordinary. Annie’s vocals were nothing short of impressive. ‘The Forest Awakes’ also showcased Annie’s talents and her smoky, raw vocals sounding almost like she should be in a burlesque bar. Its hard to not be captivated by her.
I was never a huge St Vincent fan, and I had seen her a bunch of times, but in this she was perfect. She was robotic, spastic, her moves not quite polished. She was shaky, with a nervous energy the way she moved and it worked out perfectly. Her own songs had never sounded better with the backing band. Her guitar playing not as overly aggressive as can be.
And of course, David Byrne. Having never seen him perform before, I wasnt sure what to expect. But he delivers. With his shocking head of white hair, he is an entertainer. He’s talkative, funny and clearly having a great time. And it was great that there were some Talking Heads songs sprinkled in. ‘This Must be the Place’ is a really catchy Talking Heads song and got the crowd singing along. A girl in front of me started dancing with reckless abandonment. It started something, because when St Vincent played her solo songs, 2 guys started dancing clearly enjoying every moment of Annie’s voice.
All in all it was a great set. It was great to hear Annie talk about first hearing The Talking Heads in ‘Revenge of the Nerds’. As she said ‘the best song placement ever’, when referring to ‘Burning Down the House’. She also talked about an aunt/uncle in the audience who helped her become who she is and getting her into music. You could see the show meant a lot to her.
The band had 2 encores and the crowd never let up. Enthusiastic till the very end. Dancing throughout the theater and everyone having a good time. And a congo line for ‘Road to Nowhere’… seemed way too fitting as they closed out the set.
Weekend in the Dust
Save Me from What I Want (St Vincent)
Strange Overtones (David Byrne)
I Am an Ape
Marrow (St Vincent)
This Must be the Place (Naive Melody) (Talking Heads)
The Forest Awakes
Like Humans Do (David Byrne)
Cheerleader (St Vincent)
Lazy (David Byrne)
I Should Watch TV
Northern Lights (St Vincent)
The One Who Broke Your Heart
Outside of Space and Time
Cruel (St Vincent)
Burning Down the House (Talking Heads)
The Party (St Vincent)
Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads)