David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020, Spike Lee)

A fun concert movie of a Byrne show, starring the man himself in fine vocal form, a full barefoot band, and two excited theater kids. Unfortunately it’s impossible to watch this without comparing with Stop Making Sense, the best concert film ever made, especially when they keep performing the same songs, giving me flashbacks to those performances, the staging, the lighting from 35 years earlier. Byrne even does his signature dance moves during “Once in a Lifetime,” which doesn’t work great for me, despite being a crowd pleaser… in fact, I realized during “Burning Down the House” that it’s mirroring SMS‘s decision to not show the audience except in occasional scraps. I made note of some fave songs… “I Zimbra” is very fun, the first song with the entire band, and I need to revisit “Everybody’s Coming to My House” and “Toe Jam.”

Byrne with his understudy and Mary Jo Pehl:

Leading the barefoot band:

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