Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense ★★★★★

David Byrne turned 70 today so it gave me a reason to put this on yet another time

What is there left to say about this that hasn't been said already. A band at their absolute peak making one of the most innovative, well-shot and joyous concert films ever put to tape. The undeniable magnetic pull of Talking Heads sucks in everyone and everything in its path. If this shit doesn't have you dancing by the time Burning Down The House starts, you have a cold icy rhythm-less heart.

Shot over 4 nights in LA, the film captures their 1983 tour in support of the Speaking in Tongues album. Starting out with literally no stage and David awkwardly shuffling onto the stage announcing "i got a tape i'd like to play" setting in motion one of the most legendary shows the world has ever seen before or since. As we move through the first 15-20 minutes, a new band member is added song by song building the stage, house lights still on, everything is out in the open to be seen.

By the time we get to Slippery People we have organically through the setlist both built the stage and caught everyone up to speed through a selection of cuts from the earlier talking heads records, a black curtain is now lowered and in the blink of an eye it feels like a proper show, all while they've in some way acted as their own support act.

What follows is just pure live music and film magic coming together in utter harmony.
The whole band starts ever so slowly going into a mix of choreographed dance and just vibing while ripping into Slippery People, and then.

That all too familiar acoustic guitar riff starts playing, moving rapidly between that third and fifth fret. I can not, dear reader, in words describe the amount of hype this elicits in this gay little autistic music and film nerd. Like shockwaves of little lightning bolts of happiness getting shot through the entire body, the drum riff launching into the song just sends every worry, every anxiety, everything bad to a different universe for just a little while.

From here and out the show pulsates and grooves between stylistic red flashing backgrounds, playing with shadows on the wall, impeccable usage of lighting as a way of elevating a song from good to beyond great.

The next huge highlight for me personally is the eternal classic, an honest pick for my favourite song of all time, a love song so perfectly written it makes me weep like a child every single time:

This Must Be The Place

An absolutely BEAUTIFUL arrangement depending way more on backing vocals and the harmonies than the sparse minimalism of the studio version. It also features one of the most memorable stage moments, with David dancing/running frantically with a lamp, which frankly is one of the most beautiful things i've ever seen and i couldn't really explain to you fully why.
This is immediately followed up with their biggest song Once In A Lifetime, making for just one of the most absurd two time punches in live music history. Controversially(?) i find the way they chose to film this song a bit frustrating? The camera is basically focused quite statically on David for the whole song capturing his frantic TV preacher impressions, which to be fair are pretty iconic. But i always end up wishing they had planned something a bit more appealing for such a huge number, it just feels frustratingly tame. But the performance of the song is fantastic and i mean, you're still just sitting there listening to Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads so you know, take it with a pinch of salt.


But as all of us know this is merely to make time for one of the most iconic moments in music history to happen...

doesn't get any better than this.
Girlfriend is Better is the song and it unsurprisingly absolutely rips like everything else in this show! Watching david's huge silhouette as the beat starts never gets any less hype.
This one along with Burning Down The House, This Must Be The Place and Life During Wartime are genuine contenders for "this is where live music peaked"

Entering the homestretch we have an absolutely rager version of their cover of Take Me To The River, band introduction gets a bit tedious and sucks the energy out of it a bit but also like... it's not really a problem at all.

Closing the show off is a sizzling rendition of Remain in Lights hypnotic rhythmic avalanche Crosseyed and Painless.
Putting the cherry on top of this perfect sundae.

Stop Making Sense, a band at their absolute peak and a concert film that will live throughout eternity through all of us who got our eyes opened to the power of music and art watching it. I will cherish it and watch it when my soul needs it every so often until i die. It's just one of those things you could watch a couple times a year and never get tired of.

God bless talking heads, and my deepest thanks for having that seed sown blossoming into love for cinema, music and art in general. This is my home, how i make sense of the world. I get this, i UNDERSTAND this 100% every beat and dance move lands and reverberates through my entire skeleton.

Home, is where i want to be, but i guess i'm already there

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