David Byrne

An overwhelming 27,000 people showed up to see David Byrne play a free show at the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn on Monday night. The show was the opening of the 2009 Celebrate Brooklyn concert series. Celebration was easily the theme of the night, whether you were celebrating the fact that it didn’t rain, the fact that you managed to actually get inside the bandshell (many were detoured by the long, snake-like line, which purportedly began just before 11am), or the fact that you were seeing a legendary performer for free (or the cost of your donation).

The show’s focus was Byrne’s work with Eno, covering the Talking Heads’ three pivotal, mid-career albums, and their two collab LPs, 1981’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, and last year’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, with the latter release unsurprisingly taking the most focus. (Which explains the absence of hits like “Psycho Killer,” “And She Was,” and “Road To Nowhere.”) Still, Byrne brought out some of the bigger Talking Heads players, all of which got the crowd going – “I Zimbra,” “Crosseyed & Painless,” “Once In A Lifetime,” “Burning Down The House” (See T-Sides video below!), “Life During Wartime,” and the group’s funky Al Green cover, “Take Me to the River.” The hopeful attitude of the newer material was especially fitting, as Byrne serenaded, “I’m counting all the possibilities,” in “My Big Nurse.”

David Byrne & Brian Eno: “My Big Nurse” (download)

Byrne was more than capably backed, not only by an arsenal of musicians and back-up singers bringing a soulful, afrobeat flavor when needed, but also by a saucy dance troop. The spectacle made the show all the more joyous, at least for those within eye range of the stage. Overall, the audience was upbeat and well-behaved, dancing and singing at full force.

The sound was a little muddled at times (even close to the sound booth), and the vocals definitely could have been louder. Leaving the area was a slow process, though not much worse than it was in the days of the McCarren Park Pool shows. Hopefully over the course of the summer, those kinds of kinks will be worked out. And, hey, it’s hard to complain much about something that’s free.

For more T-Sides pictures, click here. For the setlist, T-Sides video of “Burning Down The House” from this show and more information, click the jump.

Strange Overtones
I Zimbra
One Fine Day
Help Me Somebody
Houses In Motion
My Big Nurse
My Big Hands (Fall Through The Cracks)
Moonlight In Glory
Life Is Long
Crosseyed And Painless
Born Under Punches
Once In A Lifetime
Life During Wartime
I Feel My Stuff
Encore: Take Me To The River
Great Curve
Encore 2: Air
Burning Down The House
Encore 3: Everything That Happens

David Byrne: “Burning Down The House” Live @ Prospect Park Bandshell, June 8th, 2009

David Byrne Official Site
David Byrne on MySpace

Also there:
Late Night Wallflower
Quiet Color
Village Voice