Movie Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia, Directed by Spike Lee


I very much enjoyed watching this film of one David Byrne’ concerts.  You will remember him from the Talking Heads.  I don’t know if he has disappeared for the past 20 or so years, or if I am just so out of it.  But it is good to see him back with voice and creative powers fully intact.

There were of course some of the favourites from the days of the Talking Heads, and that was great to see, but it was mostly new material.  

It is not a traditional concert.  There is talking, a bit of dancing, it is a bit more like performance art.

He talks about the importance of voting, not just in national elections but also in local and municipal ones.  Voting is making your voice count.

He performs the powerful song “Hell you Talmbout” where the names of minority victims of violence are shouted out.

And there is a message of hope.

His closing statement is one of reconciliation.  That we still have potential as a society.  That we are a work in progress.  The closing song is, however, “We’re on a road to nowhere.”  You could be forgiven if the daily drumbeat of news, irrespective of where you sit on the political spectrum, is filling you with despair.  A road to nowhere.

The band and vocalists are a showcase of talent.  It is entertaining, good music, and well worth two hours of your time.

These are the songs performed:

  • Here, David Byrne and Daniel Lopatin
  • I know Sometimes a Man is Wrong, David Byrne
  • Don’t Worry about the Government, David Byrne
  • Lazy, Darren House, Darren Rock, Ashley Beedle, and David Byrne
  • This Must be the Place, David Byrne, Christopher Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth
  • I Zimbra, Brian Eno, David Byrne, and Hugo Ball
  • Slippery People, David Byrne
  • I should Watch T.V., David Byrne, Walt Whitman, and Annie Clark
  • Everybody’s Coming to My House, David Byrne and Brian Eno
  • Once in a Lifetime, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Christopher Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth
  • Glass, Concrete and Stone, by David Byrne
  • Toe Jam, David Byrne and Quentin Cook
  • Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On), David Byrne, Brian Eno, Christopher Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth
  • I Dance Like This, by David Byrne and Brian Eno
  • Bullet, David Byrne and Brian Eno
  • Every Day is a Miracle, David Byrne and Brian Eno
  • Blind, David Byrne, Christopher Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth
  • Burning Down the House, David Byrne
  • Hell you Talmbout, Nathaniel Irvine, Janelle Monae Robinson, Roman Gianarthur Irvin, Chrales Joseph, and George Peters
  • One Fine Day, by David Byrne and Brian Eno
  • Road to Nowhwere, David Byrne
  • Sonate in Urlauten (Ursonate), Kirt Schwitters
  • Everybody’s Coming to My House, David Byrne and Brian Eno

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