Talking Heads founder David Byrne began his 80-city world tour this weekend, playing a diverse setlist of Talking Heads favorites, new originals and even a few choice covers.
At Red Bank, NJ’s Count Basie Theatre, Byrne started the evening with “Here,” the closing track off his new LP American Utopia. Byrne played several other American Utopia tunes throughout the night, marking all of their live debuts.
With a dozen musicians onstage, Byrne took on the mantle of Talking Heads hits like “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”, “Once in a Lifetime” and set-closer “Burning Down the House.” He also busted out “Blind” off Talking Heads’ 1988, final studio LP Naked, marking its first performance since 2005.
Byrne recently described this outing as “the most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense,” and the singer did surprise when it came to his covers. He not only performed “I Should Watch TV,” from his duo work with indie titan St. Vincent, but he dished out live debuts of “Toe Jam” by Brighton Port Authority and Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout,” which acted as the evening’s final encore.
David Byrne will be on the road until late August, though he is expected to tweak the presentation of his live shows for festivals and other bigger summer engagements in the coming months.
The singer also published a statement on Monday in response to fans’ concerns about a lack of gender diversity on his new LP American Utopia. “This lack of representation is something that is problematic and wide spread in our industry,” Byrne wrote. “I regret not hiring and collaborating with women for this album-it’s ridiculous, it’s not who I am and it certainly doesn’t match how I’ve worked in the past.”
For a full list of tour dates click here and see below for a full setlist from Saturday night. You can also read Byrne’s full statement regarding his American Utopia collaborators.
March 3, 2018
Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ
Here^, Lazy, I Zimbra, Slippery People, I Should Watch TV, Dog’s Mind^, Everybody’s Coming to My House^, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody), Once in a Lifetime, Doing the Right Thing^, Toe Jam^, The Great Curve, I Dance Like This^, Bullet^, Every Day Is a Miracle^, Like Humans Do, Blind%, Burning Down the House
Enc I: Dancing Together^, Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
Enc II: Hell You Talmbout^
^ – Live Debut
% – First performance since 2005
A statement from David Byrne:
I recently posted a piece and a playlist about the various folks who collaborated on my new album. There have been some responses and some of them have pointed out the lack of women among this group. I’d like to thank those of you who wrote for calling attention to this-this matters a lot to me.
The image in the post clearly reveals this problem in a way that mere words do not. This lack of representation is something that is problematic and wide spread in our industry. I regret not hiring and collaborating with women for this album-it’s ridiculous, it’s not who I am and it certainly doesn’t match how I’ve worked in the past. It doesn’t represent my current live show, which has a slew of diverse creators and collaborators, making this even more negligent on my part.
I am happy that we live in a time that this conversation is happening. It’s hard to realize that no matter how much effort you spend nudging the world in what you hope is the right direction, sometimes you are part of the problem. I never thought of myself as being “one of those guys,” but I guess to some extent I am. Your responses serve as a corrective. Thank you.