David Byrne and St. Vincent: Giant

David Byrne and St. Vincent
Orpheum Theater
October 15, 2012
San Francisco, CA

On his latest album and tour, David Byrne (nee Talking Heads) has teamed up with indie darling St. Vincent (nee Annie Clark).  The collaboration has divided the SF hipster subculture.  For young urban hipsters, the collaboration is a stab at relevance by DB, a once great, faded musical icon and pop star; and for aging suburban hipsters, it is an attempt by promising, neophyte SV to gain greater exposure.  But for an aging music enthusiast and concert reviewer, it was all good fun. 

DB was last seen on MV&R over three years ago when he brought down the house at the Greek with one of the best shows in recent years in the Bay Area.  Nothing could live up to that show and Monday’s night performance didn’t.  However, DB again demonstrated that he is a man of class and talent.  From his perfect, clean, white, starched jacket to his never aging, refined voice.  His voice can transform despair into comfortable beauty, his robotic dancing transforms awkwardness into fun.  And his lyrics transform the mundane to the poetic.  When he sings, “I’m an ordinary guy, burning down the house.”  It is clear that he is not ordinary and that he is burning down something else.  The song is a celebration of liberation.
However, SV is no slouch either.  First, she’s super cute.  So, she’s got that going for her.  And she’s a damn good singer and songwriter.  Though, perhaps she should refrain from taking dancing cues from DB since she ended up looking a bit like C-3PO from Star Wars jerking across the sparse stage.

Most notable and remarkable about this show was that 8 of the 12 people on stage were playing horns: trombones, trumpets, tuba, flugel horn and saxophones (technically a reed instrument).  Yet they were able to recreate “Burning Down the House,” “This Must be the Place,” and “Road to Nowhere” amongst other hits, with great enthusiasm.   A good start to a long week of fun and music.

Photos by: Award-winning photographer Joe S.

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