Talking Heads have had some pretty memorable gigs in their time as serial artistic agitators. Their Stop Making Sense shows going down in history from the very minute they began in 1983. But during this performance from three years prior at the Capitol Theatre, the band deliver perhaps their best performance of their trademark track ‘Once In A Lifetime’.
Although this performance isn’t their famous tour film, what we see instead is a band in full flow; they’re fluid, organic and raw as hell. Recorded on the day Ronald Reagan was elected as President of the United States, it is a poignant moment in musical history that should never be forgotten.
The Capitol Theatre show was a few short weeks after the release of Remain In Light and sees David Byrne’s band in a moment of creative evolution. As you might expect. The band had begun to add experienced musicians to the founding four members and benefitted immensely from the additional clout Adrian Belew, Robert Palmer and the mercurial talent of Brian Eno.
The show provided the chance for the band to explore the new record within a live setting. The band performed five tracks from the 14 that featured on the album. 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 nearing their powerful peak.
But it is on the unstoppably funky performance of ‘Once In A Lifetime’ that the different threads that have run through the band, their stage performance and their studio musings came together to make a blanket of bassy bliss.
That’s because the Talking Heads are the kind of band who needed two bassists on stage, meaning the performance almost literally vibrates you out of your seat. A cunning trick perhaps from Byrne and the group.
It’s enough to make one dream of an anniversary tour for the searing album, as it approaches the big 4-0. With new social media accounts set up for the band last year, many had thought a reunion was more likely than ever. Yet David Byrne is a creatively stubborn man and rarely retreats in his work. The singer has never really flinched when batting down rumours.
So while we may be dreaming for a little while longer we can at least enjoy one of the reasons we’re so desperate for it to happen. Look back at Talking Heads’ blistering performance of ‘Once In A Lifetime’ from back in 1980.