About five blocks north on Kent avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn sits the latest incarnation of the Waterfront venue. Not nearly as picturesque its predecessor, but certainly more local apartment friendly, the festival-like atmosphere and construct of the re-vamped venue served as a appropriate final bow for David Byrne & St. Vincent’s last of three New York area shows. The beards and babies on shoulders were out in full force with plenty of clueless boyfriends nodding their head politely along to their girlfriend’s decision on entertainment for the evening.
That being said the crowd was, by and large, much better and much more inclined to move and be moved than the reported salty revelers at The Beacon Theater shows. Backed by an eight piece brass ensemble the Talking Heads legend and the former Polyphonic Spree-er staged a choreographed performance on par with what anyone would expect to find on Broadway.
Unafraid to share and even hand over the spotlight in chunks was Mr. Byrne who lent his lion’s share of the night’s spoils towards showcasing the considerable talent of Ms. Annie Clark. Much of the material off of the collaborative Love This Giant doesn’t give Byrne very much to do in the live arena, so as the marching band style horns section made their well designed moves, so did he. At one point, as St. Vincent strummed the melancholy chords of “Cheerleader”, everyone except for the singer-guitarist laid seemingly dead on the ground, Byrne included.
All this makes it sound as if Byrne only played a famous foil to a contemporary artist he’s come to appreciate. Peppered in much more than sparingly were solo and Talking Heads classics like “Strange Overtones”, “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”, and first encore closer “Burning Down The House”.
As the fabulous early autumn weather mixed with the high drama and lights came to its penultimate conclusion, the band and its leaders took the stage one last time for a rollicking and ebullient rendition of “Road To Nowhere”. With one last showing of their seemingly perfect partnership, Byrne and Clark sung while jumping and skipping along in a conga-line circle behind their brass bandmates.
As Neil Young and an all star slew were wailing in Central Park and Jack White was in the midst of a meltdown at Radio City, the competition was stiff for concert lovers in New York Saturday. Those who chose David Byrne & St. Vincent have their own, albeit less tumultuous, story to tell.
David Byrne & St. Vincent Perform “Road To Nowhere” – Williamsburg Waterfront (9/29/12)