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David Byrne, ‘Ride, Rise, Roar’ – DVD Review

David Byrne Ride Rise Roar
Eagle Rock

Talking Heads leader David Byrne shows he’s not done writing great songs or presenting them to live audienced in bold, creative new ways on his concert film ‘Ride, Rise, Roar.’

The movie focuses on Byrne’s tour in support of his critically acclaimed collaborative album with Brian Eno, ‘Everything that Happens Will Happen Today,’ and finds him employing a small troupe of dancers to join the band onstage and act out the music.

Now, I know we’ve lost about 1/3 of you right there with that description, but, you should check this film out, the dancing never distracts from the musical performances, and quite often adds to them.

It’s really just the next logical step from the Heads’ highly choreographed ‘Stop Making Sense’ film, which if you haven’t seen it, is only one of the five best concert movies of all time. (‘The Last Waltz,’ ‘Live at Pompeii,’ ‘Sign O’ the Times’ and.. No. 5 changes all the time. Currently ‘Gimme Shelter.’)

Byrne shows no fear of living up to his past, starting ‘Ride, Rise, Roar’ off with ‘Once in a Lifetime,’ the climatic performance from ‘Stop Making Sense.’

With himself, the band and dancers all dressed in solid white, (at one point he boldly puts on a big puffy ballerina dress) he leads everyone through an impressively loose, lively and hard-hitting reading of the song.

The show then alternates between Talking Heads landmarks and newer solo songs, with brief interview segments in between each performance showing how the album came to be, as well as the thought process behind the dancers’ involvement in the show.

Apparently, they were instructed to watch and feed off each other; if they saw one dancer do a move better than theirs, they should copy it, until everybody was doing the same thing. It’s a metaphor for the advancement of society or something like that. Again, you don’t have to think about it that much to fully enjoy this DVD. If you’re like us, you’ll probably spend half the film cursing the fact that you missed this tour.

Watch David Byrne Perform ‘I Feel My Stuff’ from ‘Ride, Rise, Roar’

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