I don’t like live concert recordings.
My life revolves around music.And I love the thrill of going to a live show.But watching the recordings of shows I never understood.
The audio was never as good as the original recording.The visuals kinds repetitive and boring, not when compared with a glossy, artistic, promo video. And anyway, the point of live performance is to see it live.
The electric atmosphere of thousands of other excited bodies around you all cheering and singing for the same things. The bass pulsating through your entire body. The gross yet also somehow gorgeous smell of sweat, spilt beer and spliffs. The knowledge that at last, you and your idols are in the same room, breathing the same air. Maybe you’ll even get to make eye contact. Your ears still ringing the next morning when you wake. And to say in years to come “I was there”.
That’s the point of the live performance. And with a recording you get none of that.
But I have one exception: Talking Heads Stop Making Sense.
I first saw it around four years ago, on my clever brothers recommendation. It was a title I’d heard of a ton, but I wasn’t really a Talking Heads fan at the time (or more I hadn’t been exposed to them fully), and as I didn’t like the genre of concert film, there was no reason I’d ever have seen it.
But within the opening twenty seconds…David Byrne, walking onto an empty stage, placing a ghetto blaster on the ground, uttering the words “Hi I have a tape I’d like to play” then hitting the play button, before launching into a stripped back and thrilling version of Psycho Killer…well I was hooked, compelled, in love and have never looked back.
The music, the staging, the performances, the costumes, the dancing, the energy. Everything is captivating, electric and like nothing I’ve ever seen before or have ever seen since.
The whole thing is genius, and every second a pleasure. Every time I watch it I go through the entire spectrum of emotions – happiness, excitement, goosebumps, I grin, I laugh, I cry.
It’s the perfect film of the perfect performance by the perfect band. And one of my all time favourites.
Oh David Byrne. I’d marry you and your grey suit in a heartbeat.
I now watch it at least every three months. And the soundtrack, I listen to almost every Friday without fail. Often twice. I start my Friday by celebrating in the joy of the end ofthe week, by getting ready to it. And then Friday often ends, at home, after a few wines, with a little dance and a grin to the utterly uplifting Take Me To The River.
Stop Making Sense, you are perfect. Thank you for being in this world.