Watch rare footage of Talking Heads performing live in 1980
(Credit: Michael Markos)

Watch Talking Heads dominate the stage at this fiery show in 1980

Revisiting the Far Out Magazine vault, we’re exploring some rare and joyful footage of a 1980 performance from the Talking Heads. It’s a performance that is full of bright lights, big dreams and bigger hearts and sees the band on stage a month after their iconic record Remain In Light was released.

Seeing Talking Heads, with their enigmatic leader David Byrne, live on stage was always a holistic experience. The group, above all else, believed in expression and the act of performing live for a musician must be the highest form of it.

As the first bass notes pop out of the speakers and the tune for ‘Psycho Killer’ plods out towards your ears and the image of Byrne’s striking face envelops your eyes you’re undoubtedly aware that this group are the real thing.

The gig takes place at The Capitol Theatre in New Jersey and not only highlights the ludicrous talent of the band, but also the sheer audacity they had to produce and deliver such mercurial work. It’s a venue which has seen some of the greatest rock and roll acts grace its stage and Talking Heads are certainly one of the best.

Exploring the undulating setlist, the band performed five tracks from the 14 that make up Remain In Light. Songs like ‘Houses In Motion’ and ‘Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)’ take on a rawer, more frenetic guise on the stage, with the Talking Heads — then at the peak of their powers also providing a taste of what the decade would hold in their iconic song ‘Once In A Lifetime’.

Although this performance isn’t their famous tour film Stop Making Sense, what we see here is a band in full flow; they’re fluid, organic and raw as hell. The group are still finding their feet with the new material but are mercurial performers, swaggering across the stage and dominating it with every note and every empty space.

Recorded on the day Ronald Reagan was elected as President of the United States, it is a poignant moment in musical history which should never be forgotten—and has two bloody bass players slaying. It’s a triumph of the band’s bubbling creativity and sees their alt-pop credentials to the test. A test they pass with flying colours.

Watch it all below.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content