Posted in music | pictures on February 28, 2009

photos by Chris La Putt

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

Byrne was greeted with a returning heroes welcome. I've never heard an ovation as deep and long as that following "Houses In Motion" - it seemed to begin in the back of the large hall and move forward till the room was one extended, hearty bravo that resonated for minutes, stunning even Mr. Byrne.

Byrne was onstage at about 8:20 - no flashy intro, in fact, it seemed he needed to kill some time (allowing concertgoers a few extra minutes to get to their seats, a technical delay?) so he rambled on a bit (in somewhat disjointed Byrne style) explaining the musical makeup of the evening. It was interesting that in speaking about his earlier music, he pointedly made sure not to mention the name of his first band - Talking Heads.

The set smartly opened with the new "Strange Overtones" - immediately hooking the audience, and then proceeded with a blend of mostly old, some new, and a few semi-obscurities (from the lp "My Life In The Bush of Ghosts"). When the 3 dancers came onstage for "I Zimbra", the party really started. Tbe dancers, the choreography, the simple but standard stage uniforms - it was classic theatrical David Byrne - making sure that it was more than just a rock concert - it was a joyous stage show.

At the finale, Byrne, the band, the dancers and an additional chorus line of dozens all flooded the stage - and all wearing tutus! A chorus line of high kicks, followed by bows and waves to the audience, concluded a memorable evening of great musicianship and extraordinary showmanship." [drewo]

David Byrne played the first of two nights in a row at Radio City Music Hall in NYC last night (2/27). The second is tonight (2/28). More pictures and last night's setlist, below...

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

David Byrne @ Radio City Music Hall

"Set list went something like this...": [... said Bronze Medals]

Strange Overtones
I Zimbra
One Fine Day
Help Me Somebody
Houses In Motion
My Big Nurse
My Big Hands (Fall Through The Cracks)
Heaven
Poor Boy
Life Is Long
The River
Crosseyed and Painless
Born Under Punches
Once In A Lifetime
Life During Wartime
I Feel My Stuff

Enc. 1
Take Me To The River
The Great Curve

Enc. 2
Air
Burning Down The House

Enc. 3
Everything That Happens

P.S. despite the rumor, David Bowie and Paul Simon did not join Byrne on stage.

---

      

Comments (79)

david byrne is a class act. i really wish i had the $$$ to go tonight.


Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 12:48 PM

Digital B&W are just not good compared to film. Stick to color.

Was there any confusion between the encores? I couldn't tell from my seats?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 12:50 PM

BV is becoming more and more like Rolling Stone. I recognize that Byrne is a central figure in the history of New York rock and I love his work, but wouldn't this blog be better directed to feature more photos and text dedicated to, as the name suggests, "Brooklyn" culture? Van Morrison. U2. David Byrne, et al. This is straight-up Rock and Roll Hall of Fame fodder.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 12:52 PM

cant wait for tonight, i can only hope the set is as strong! yesterday was just warm up.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 12:58 PM

Thanks for the pics. I caught him twice last year, both times were some of the best nights of 2008.

Posted by uwmryan | February 28, 2009 1:01 PM

that backup singer got some tig ol's

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:07 PM

Dear Anon 12:52,

What the fuck. If you think BV is anything like Rolling Stone, then you have never had the dubious honor of reading a modern day RS. I direct you here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBoY3ccSzrE

Also, if you think Brooklyn is the center of the universe, then you are a chotch. And you probably have a beard.

Love,
Philip Brightmore

Posted by Philip Brightmore | February 28, 2009 1:09 PM

Interestingly enough, 12:52, many people who are involved or interested in "'Brooklyn' culture" also enjoy older acts enough to want to read about them here. This is a NYC-based music blog; for a David Byrne, Van Morrison, or U2 concert to go unremarked upon here would be very strange.

Posted by Bronze Medals | February 28, 2009 1:12 PM

Case in point: "P.S. despite the rumor, David Bowie and Paul Simon did not join Byrne on stage." The only thing missing from this old school vibe is Sting.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:17 PM

Anon 12:52, you are a tool, and why people hate people.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:18 PM

Bronze Medals must live in Park Slope.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:18 PM

rolling stone is miley cyrus, jonas brothers, taylor swift and other BS.

Without David Byrne and Van Morrison, where do you think all these mostly so-so indie bands would come from? do you you think they spring from the gowanus canal or from some dumpster in Bushwick?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:21 PM

Why do defensive, 1:18? Did I cut to close to your cherished Graceland and/or Vampire Weekend records?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:22 PM

I'd say a classy art school act like David Byrne is pretty much the epitome of what Brooklyn cool aspires to be. Byrne may be popular, but he's also a genuinely talented musician still doing good work these days.

In general, I try to avoid getting into conversations with people who are so embarrassed by their stupid ideas that they don't bother to sign them, though, so I think that's as far as I'm willing to go here.

Posted by Stu | February 28, 2009 1:23 PM

^^^ i agree 100%

Posted by scott | February 28, 2009 1:28 PM

"""Case in point: "P.S. despite the rumor, David Bowie and Paul Simon did not join Byrne on stage." The only thing missing from this old school vibe is Sting."'"'

Most non-point I've ever heard.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:35 PM

why do do-do 1:21?

i;m not two defensive, so can spell good 2.

uuhh, those are both great albums, along with thousands of others made in the last 60 years. good music is good music. Seeing Byrne last night is an example of a real artist making unique music - that is hopefully the point of going out to hear music.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:44 PM

I heard Bronze medal does live in Park Slope, and his/her parents pay rent. What a muskrat.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:51 PM

this concert last night was pretty incredible. the only thing keeping it from being a perfect show from my perspective was that the entire mix could've been a few notches louder. but that happens fairly often at Radio City. big ups to the choreographers and dancers.

Posted by EF Matt | February 28, 2009 1:59 PM

1:44, what are you a twelve year old?

Your talk of "a real artist" has no relation to the initial post, which was asking, broadly, how BV might better define its own mission. From your open-ended enthusiasm, it sounds to me like you love the fact that all blogs cycle around the same information, rather than actually identifying a niche that is peculiarly its own. The real danger about this kind of circulation (and I don't even want to spin my wheels on whether Van Morrison or Vampire Weekend or U2 are "real artists) concerns the role blogs play in developing a sustainable alternative to mainstream institutions like Rolling Stone.

I don't have a beard and I don't solely subscribe to the underground as the only viable scene, but it does depress me that the lines between the mainstream and the, well, "non-mainstream," are becoming blurred to the point where all people can say is that lots of good music has been made over the "last 60 years" and that we all need to give shout outs to folks who are already acknowledged by the mainstream. Radio City? What about the future and what's BV's role in moving us in that direction?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 1:59 PM

definitely the best post-YAPS show of 2009!

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:02 PM

I am most likely 12, yes.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:04 PM

y'all can in-fight as much as you want but that was seriously the best show I've seen in years.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:07 PM

Thanks for highlighting my show comments BV. Also thanks for continuing to keep us all informed about good new music.

Case in point - the naysayers here may need to be reminded that you have made much mention of the recent collaboration between David Byrne and the Dirty Projectors - a example of the (still influential) old guard working with the (Brooklyn-based) young guns.

Posted by drewo | February 28, 2009 2:11 PM

For Christs sake, can someone just tell me what time Daft Punk goes on?????????????????

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:13 PM

love David Byrne. he is truly an original thinker.
certainly can't say the same for the haters.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:18 PM

Best show of the year....

David Byrne at RCMH > Animal Collective at Bowery/Grand Ballroom

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:27 PM

Last night was amazing. Mr. Byrne never fails to deliver the goods. Hopefully tonight is equally enjoyable for those in attendance.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:32 PM

I wouldn't call David Byrne "mainstream" by a long-shot. Granted, as he has aged, his music has become less experimental and more, er, um, easy listening?

Whatever you think about Byrne, there is no denying the fact that last night's show was amazing. I agree that the sound could have been a bit louder, and some live horns would have embellished a few tracks, but no matter. I had a great time.

Can't wait for Grizzly Bear tonight!

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:39 PM

Why aren't there more vegan recipes on this site?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 2:40 PM

Thanks for the set list and the great pictures. Couldn't agree with you more on the energy expended by the collective after Houses in Motion, it was the turning point of the show. I've seen Talking Heads a bunch of times and this was well, different. It was nostalgic and enjoyable but was more of a re-imagining of the old tunes. The edges are worn off and the artist is now having a lot more fun having left the pretension behind. Maybe enough anger will wear off to get the quartet back together again for one last time. I'd buy another ticket for that.

Posted by CT from NJ | February 28, 2009 3:05 PM

This is such a humorous discussion. I loled ^_^

Posted by amphibian | February 28, 2009 3:16 PM

I can't believe nobody mentioned DB's voice yet! The guy is what 56 (?) and his voice has not fallen off one bit! If anything maybe it's even stronger than back in 80's - he was belting shit out last night - truly amazing. Can't think of another rocker who has aged so "cool-ly" awesome show last night and yes, the ovation after Houses in Motion made the hair on th back of my neck stand up. Bravo Mr Byrne.

Posted by Niko T | February 28, 2009 3:29 PM

David Byrne had me at hello. He said 'hello' to me and, as a result, he had me. It was dusty that day and I wore a mask, but no one noticed because every one was wearing a mask. It was Halloween. A dusty, dusty Halloween.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 3:38 PM

David Byrne had me at hello. He said 'hello' to me and, as a result, he had me. It was dusty that day and I wore a mask, but no one noticed because every one was wearing a mask. It was Halloween. A dusty, dusty Halloween.

Posted by Orpheus | February 28, 2009 3:39 PM

i think its safe to say that david byrne is the new Yaps

Posted by cobra the wet sprocket | February 28, 2009 4:01 PM

^1:07
that's jenni, daughter of geoff and maria, muldaur and she can sing, too...

Posted by donn | February 28, 2009 4:38 PM

all hail david byrne.

Posted by imkoreansowhat | February 28, 2009 5:06 PM

Burning Down the House was one of the most amazing pieces I've ever seen live. Someone posted it on YouTube, you can see it here:
http://gotchamedia.blogspot.com/2009/02/david-byrne-at-radio-city-burning-down.html

Posted by Matt | February 28, 2009 5:07 PM

i dont see the this translating well at bonnaroo

Posted by j.c. | February 28, 2009 5:38 PM

what time did it end?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 5:42 PM

anyone who was at the show last night...what time did the show begin? tx.

Posted by Monk | February 28, 2009 5:43 PM

820-1015 by my cameras time

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 6:01 PM

How many of you guys grew up on the Brooklyn schoolyards and street corners?

Posted by Frank | February 28, 2009 6:09 PM

I was at the show last night and it was absolutely fantastic. Great photos! Mine made it on Gothamist and Vanity Fair but you've got so many more that are excellent.

Posted by AJ | February 28, 2009 8:16 PM

12:52 is a dickbag and probably just moved here from Dayton Ohio.

Posted by adam | February 28, 2009 8:38 PM

the show was soo good I get goose bumps thinking about it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 8:49 PM

agree with 12:50. the B&W digital photos, esp.snapshot size, are not happening. the color shots work much better.

didn't see the show, but DB is a true artist. saw a short set a st. ann's last year. he does indeed still have an amazing voice.

Posted by Freakbag | February 28, 2009 8:56 PM

When's the last time David Byrne ate haggis?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 9:09 PM

i don't understand how you guys can compare color to bw film on the web with optimized web pics. you lose so much quality.

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2009 9:25 PM

whatever, I got friend-zoned by a girl I took to this concert. There goes $130 bucks. fck.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 1:23 AM

Veganism is for fags.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 1:34 AM

poop belly bv is for everyone

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 1:38 AM

David Byrne last night made Grizzly Bear sound like dog doo doo. Byrnes set at Radio City was transcendent and absolutely magical. I'll always remember it. It was electric. It was inspiring. It was musical concert as art.

Grizzly Bear with the Brooklyn Philharmonic on the other hand, well it might be like comparing apples to oranges, but God, what a complete let down. Wish I had gone back to see Byrne again for the second night. Grizzly Bears set was short and uninspired. Nico Muhly's arrangements were often drowned out and sounded muddy. I don't know where they were trying to go with this performance but the end result was completely lackluster.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 2:37 AM

what are you talking about?
the grizzly bear show was on a differet level of greatness.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 2:58 AM

An outstanding concert on Saturday, 2/28/09. The whole ensemble was on. People couldn't sit in their seats (which is a big deal at RCMH).

Good one for BV to spotlight this.

The carping commenters here must be the same artsy fartsy snobs who years ago loudly denounced David B for "strip mining the third world" while drooling over every jot and tittle of Paul Simon.

Posted by Peter S. | March 1, 2009 9:21 AM

12:03 & 2:37 anon=same aggro bro from past Grizzly Bear threads?


Probably wasn't even there just talking shit. Show was awesome. Vocals were really spot on

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 9:40 AM

Never trust Anonymous Brooklynvegan comments. Myself included.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 9:44 AM

david byrne's toupee looks resplendant

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:14 AM

the Friday show was truly amazing. I was smiling the whole time.

And that man can still sing! He sounds great.

Posted by wembley | March 1, 2009 10:26 AM

all these david byrne haters can just go back & listen to their lcd soundsystem: my god, they sound nothing like talking heads

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:55 AM

Why even compare Talking Heads to Grizzly Bear? Seriously??!!?!

Ed Drost can suck Tina Weymouth's dick!

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 11:06 AM


Yes, the sound at Radio City last night could have been much more prominent. I'm also puzzled by the mix, which downplayed Byrne's guitar -- since those old TH and Byrne/Eno songs always had at least TWO rhythm guitar parts, DB's decision to pare down rather extravagant and complex arrangements was exacerbated by his live engineer.

I saw TH several times, including summer '81 in Central Park, before Remain In Light came out, and I still have my Dr. Pepper Concert Series button to prove it! By comparison, last night's band was pretty good: more understated, less forceful. I sure as hell would have liked a better drummer. These songs require power.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 11:20 AM

Anybody have the set list for the second night? Haven't heard much of David Byrne's music but really enjoyed myself.

Posted by J Dizzle | March 1, 2009 11:36 AM

SBYLF

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 11:54 AM

From CBGB to RCMH still an awesome display of music and art! Last night's show was the shit, I danced most of the night and THAT's what it's all about. Forget the TH reunion, he's always been too busy moving ahead. In my 50's for chris'sake and I have friends that haven't bought new/seen live music since they had kids except for reunion tours!! What's up w/that? :-)

I'm surprised "Life in the Bush of Ghosts" doesn't get more credit for introducing sampling and the music forms that evolved from that. He's an innovator still

I think ETHWHT is techno-Gospel, as BD says, and I don't think the crowds at Bonaroo will mind :-) He played '04 there and killed; that crowds pretty eclectic. Marvelous performance for the ages and one I will definitely remember from decades of shows, THEE BOMB!!!

Posted by Brian | March 1, 2009 11:54 AM

Pretty sure the setlist was exactly the same both nights.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 1:05 PM

i chuileag bhuidhe bhuachair as airde srann. The yellow dungfly makes the loudest buzz.

Posted by hack | March 1, 2009 1:38 PM

where you at bronze medals give us some more set list love! you've found your calling, now answer it! your blog is worthless otherwise.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 1:43 PM

I guess it's out of step actually trying to discuss David Byrne's music, but wasn't it odd that he didn't play "Home" at Friday's show, which is basically the new album's signature song? Wasn't that an encore staple on the first leg of the tour? Yeah, I'm googling....

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 1:50 PM

Count the cards too slowly and you'll trip your tongue without a sound. It's easy to round up the ruffians in town and send them to the sand lot, but harder to send the ball players back into town. Not after the incident.

Posted by Orpheus | March 1, 2009 1:52 PM

What was that class action lawsuit the DB talked about last night? Ticket Now or something. Were people getting scammed out of tickets?

Posted by Keith | March 1, 2009 3:28 PM

i agree with anon 11.20 to a large extent about the sound. i thought in general it should've been louder - especially byrne's elec. guitar - and i was surprised at the absence of a second guitarist (the role adrian belew played). as a result, it took several songs before everything seemed to kick in.

and what proceeded was easily one of the best musical performances this city has seen in quite a while. simply amazing.

by the way, anon 11.20, remain in light came out in oct. 1980. i, too, saw the heads numerous times in the late 70's (central park, calderone concert hall, etc.)

but it was their appearance at the heatwave festival outside of toronto in aug. 1980 when they expanded their line-up and debuted many songs from remain in light that forever changed me. they stole the festival from my fave who was headlining (elvis costello & the attractions).

same setlist or not, i would've loved to go again on saturday night.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 5:39 PM

Weird story, I almost got into a fight (!) at the Friday show. Some college-boy hippie-fuck insisted on dancing/twirling in my space, bumping into me, etc. He apparently felt I wasn't excited enough, and even slapped my arm, letting me know, "that's David Fucking Byrne!!!"

When I asked him to lay off, he took umbrage, and tried to engage me in some hippie dance off. It was equal parts embarrassing and puzzling to all the sudden be involved in this situation. I was torn between punching him in the face and getting tossed, or embracing restraint. It was a tough call but the show had just started, so I went with the latter.

[I also realize I could have simply moved seats at this point-but I was 3rd row, and, well, fuck that]

At the end of the show, the kid even wanted everyone to know how cool he was by yelling for "Squirming Coil," a Phish song.

Because after all...it was David fucking Byrne.

Kid, if you're reading this: eat lots of pills and kill yourself.

Posted by mark | March 2, 2009 11:10 AM

but it was their appearance at the heatwave festival outside of toronto in aug. 1980 when they expanded their line-up and debuted many songs from remain in light that forever changed me. they stole the festival from my fave who was headlining (elvis costello & the attractions).

You bring tears of joy remembering that show, I thought that the Police Picnics that followed, weren't too shaby either, although passed both band's commercial success, it was a culmination of quality.

As far as the hipsters blabbling on about content, I don't give a fuck, in fact thatÈs what I tell my hipster kids all the time, all day long...

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2009 8:11 PM


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Posted by Joannah | March 28, 2009 12:41 AM

David Byrne is a very cool and famous artist, but he is a little bit too old now. I think he is over 60.

Posted by Walter S. Lilly | January 5, 2011 9:15 AM

David Byrne is a legend and I must say that he still looks pretty good considering how many years he has been around.

Posted by veganstore | June 2, 2011 4:52 AM

BV is becoming more and more like Rolling Stone. I recognize that Byrne is a central figure in the history of New York rock and I love his work, but wouldn't this blog be better directed to feature more photos and text dedicated to, as the name suggests, "Brooklyn" culture? Van Morrison. U2. David Byrne, et al. This is straight-up Rock and Roll Hall of Fame fodder.

Posted by Bennett | January 8, 2013 8:43 AM

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