It doesn’t matter if he’s performing with Talking Heads or solo — David Byrne knows how to make a damn good concert film. Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense is the masterpiece of the genre, while HBO’s upcoming American Utopia, directed by Spike Lee, “should be required for everyone,” as our own Mike Ryan raved. Not just Talking Heads fans, but everyone, as there’s “something whimsical and magical about the whole thing. It is designed to make the viewer feel good.” We could all use joy right now.
Described by HBO as a “unifying musical celebration that inspires audiences to connect to each other and the global community,” American Utopia features new songs (largely from the 2018 album the film is named after), covers (“Hell You Talmbout” by Janelle Monae), and old Talking Heads’ favorites, including “Burning Down the House,” “Life During Wartime,” “This Must Be the Place,” and “Road to Nowhere.” There’s nothing from the Sack Lunch Bunch special, but maybe Byrne’s saving that for the sequel.
Here’s more on American Utopia:
Recorded during its run at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in New York City, David Byrne is joined by an ensemble of 11 musicians, singers, and dancers from around the globe, inviting audiences into a joyous dreamworld where human connection, self-evolution, and social justice are paramount.
David Byrne’s American Utopia premieres on HBO and HBO Max on October 17.