Tag: Stop Making Sense
RIDE RISE ROAR
Eagle Rock Entertainment
9 out of 10
My introduction to the Talking Heads was in high school at a party one Friday night. Stop Making Sense had come out on VHS (you remember VCRs right? Well that was the tape that went into VCRs). And a friend was playing it at a party I was at. I was blown away by the show itself, and the music much later.
If you have never seen Stop Making Sense, then stop what you are doing (yes, that means stop reading this review right now…) and go pick up the DVD of Stop Making Sense AND get Ride Rise Roar at the same time, you’ll thank me later. It is regarded as the best concert video ever, and for good reason. Not just because of the camera work, or because of the band, but because of the production surrounding the band. The show itself, the production on stage is the star of this film, as it is about how a show is put together, how the production that goes into a show is built.
Most concerts are about the band, and about the music. This concert was about more than that. As the show progresses from song to song, more band members join in, and the light production is built around them. From just David Byrne on stage with a boom box and an acoustic guitar to a full band with full production around them. The show continues to build and build unto a mighty crescendo.
The Talking Heads are no more. David Byrne has gone on to do many various projects in and out of music and art. Always pushing the edge, always blurring the media he uses, always trying to push the audience as well as himself. Sometimes executed to perfection, sometimes the idea was better than the end result.
Enter Ride Rise Roar. A film by David Hillman Curtis that documents the course of the 2008/2009 Songs Of David Byrne & Brian Eno Tour. The Stop Making Sense film is such a stunning achievement that it is so very hard to not compare Ride Rise Roar to it. Try as I might I kept finding myself trying to not make comparisons. Making it harder still was the fact that the film opens with Once In A Lifetime. A monumental Talking Heads song from SMS also.
And other than an avent garde style of show is featured in both films the similarities truly end there. Ride Rise Roar shows the seeds of the beginning of the tour, the spawning of ideas and how to present the songs on stage. The auditions of the uncommon dancers. How they came to be hired, and why.
For me the one moment that made me back up the DVD and watch it over and over was the moment in the auditions that David describes how he gave the dancers an order to pick 4 moves, and once they found the strongest moves just begin repeating them over and over. And if they saw another dancer doing a stronger move than them, to copy them. So in time all the dancers ended up doing the same four moves. Evolution proven. Survival of the fittest. It for me was quite a stunning moment. Not sure why it resonated so much but it did.
The music throughout the film and concert are a mix of Talking Heads and David Byrne (with/without Brian Eno) solo works.
This isn’t Continue To Stop Making Sense, this is David’s baby front to back. At times the backup dancers can be a little distracting and they may take away visually from the music, but the times they actually seem to add to the music more than makes up for it. For a few songs it almost seems as if they are acting out the song in some strange interpretative dance that transcends the dance itself and the music singularly, so that artist, dancer, and musician coalesce into one being on stage and for that brief moment it works and we are transported to a special place. And then Road To Nowhere comes on, and we can’t wait until it is over so that we can enjoy the rest of the show and music.
You can pick up Ride Rise Roar right here. And you can thank me later…