It looks like May 2001 was legendary musicians month. First, Iggy Pop and now David Byrne. That makes a pretty good month for music.
Neither Amy nor I had ever seen the Talking Heads. This would be as close as we would get so we were really looking forward to this show. David did not disappoint even though certain audience members… More on that shortly.
Things were running late that night. I don’t recall why. In fact, the audience was not allowed in through First Avenue’s main entrance, we had to file in through a side entrance which led directly to the VIP lounge in the main room’s upper level. We had to hang out there while the staff completed setting up the stage.
Once the setup was completed, we were allowed to file out of the VIP area and take our places by the stage. Amy and I were able to get right down front for Joe Henry as he came out to warm up the crowd.
What I remember of Joe Henry’s set was a certain group of three or four gals and one guy standing just behind us. Mainly I remember one of the gals in particular. She loudly talked and talked and talked and talked and talked about how great Joe Henry was last time she saw him perform.
Finally, Amy and I turned to the group and Amy said, “Would you shout up so we can hear him now?!” The gals just looked at us as though we were the ones being rude. The lone male of the group gave me a look as if to say, “Hey, man, they dragged me here. I don’t want any trouble.”
So, Joe finishes up and the audience tightens up to the stage in anticipation of David Byrne’s arrival. Remember, Amy and I were very close to the front of the stage. There were perhaps three or four people directly in front of us.
As David gets on stage and starts to play, the troublesome group behind us was at it again. This time the mouthy chick, along with one or two of friend gal pals, decided that they deserved to be closer to the stage. They began to attempt to push by us, but Amy and I did our best to keep them in their place. We were here first. Fair is fair. We soon realized that it wasn’t worth the fight.
The gals, fresh from their rudely won victory, got up front and did that whooping dance that only women do. You know the dance. The one where they dance their arms in the air and whoop it up because they are having such a great time. You never see men do quite the same dance.
Amy and I moved over a bit and soon had forgotten about the rudeness, because David played so well. He mixed in a few Talking Heads tunes with his solo material. Everything he played was very good.
He also assembled a few local musicians. He explained that he needed a string quartet for some of his songs. I forget the reason that he didn’t have those musicians touring with him, but his people had to hurriedly search for qualified local musicians.
Musicians were found and they had little time to rehearse before the show, which may explain the delay and detour at the beginning of the evening. But they were pros and they played beautifully. David was so grateful for them.
There was a special moment during the performance. It wasn’t the rude gals being acknowledged by David for whooping it up so well. No, it happened during a quiet moment between songs. David was explaining something about a song, when an audience member standing beside Amy and me shouted, “We’re all here for you, David!”
David seemed a little surprised, but he smiled sweetly and said, “Thank you.”
The one thing I have to relate about this show is the apparent breakdown of the Reverends drummer. The Reverend didn’t seem happy that night. It wasn’t noticeable most of the night, but toward the end of the show he seemed quite bothered. Something was wrong.
The drummer was having trouble keeping it together. Maybe it was too much drink or drug taking or something else, I couldn’t say. I don’t recall if the drummer was dismissed or if he walked off, but the Reverend ended his set playing an old Country and Western classic, possibly a Patsy Cline tune. It was just him singing and playing guitar, Nature Boy Jimbo on bass and the audience clapping along.
When he finished the song, the Reverend said, “You guys sure do keep a good beat!”