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The staging--and Demme's filming of it--builds toward an orgasmic release of music, rising from the bare-stage simplicity of Byrne, accompanied only by a boom box on "Psycho Killer" to the ecstatic crescendo of "Burning Down the House", by which time the Heads and additional personnel have all arrived on stage for a performance that seems channelled from heaven for the purpose of universal uplift. (God bless Demme for avoiding shots of the luckiest audience in 80s pop history; its presence is acknowledged but not at the viewer's expense.) With the deliriously eccentric Byrne as ringleader (pausing mid-concert to emerge in his now-legendary oversized suit), this circus of musical pleasure defies the futility of reductive description; it begs to be experienced, felt in the heart, head and bones, and held there the way we hold on to cherished memories. On those three nights in December 1983, Talking Heads gave love, life, and joy in generous amounts that years cannot erode, and Demme captured this act of creative goodwill on film with minimalist artistic perfection. Stop Making Sense is an invitation to pleasure that will never wear out its welcome. --Jeff Shannon
The pacing of the film is exemplary: the gradual addition of musicians provides the context for David Byrne's metamorphosis from tense New Waver to full-on funkster. And while the rest of the Heads, augmented by musicians of the class and charisma of Bernie Worrell and Alex Weir amongst others, play brilliantly, Byrne steals the show. He is more compelling than Michael Stipe in "Tourfilm", Bjork at the Royal Opera House last year or anyone else you care to mention.
Thankfully the classic "I Zimbra/Big Business" (the latter a Byrne solo number from "Songs from the Catherine Wheel") is included as an extra and proves one of the many highlights of the disc. Making further great use of DVD's potential, the disc provides the viewer with a choice of sounds tracks. While the concert sound was always good, the remastered track blows it away for clarity, depth and feeling. The voiceover gives great history and background and is good accompaniment to "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa", the biography of the band which reveals the extent of the inevitable animosity as Byrne garnered all the plaudits.
Accusations that this is over-rated and dated are without foundation as well as explanation.Read more ›
If only more bands bothered to put this much thought into their live shows... ;-) Highly recommended
This is the greatest concert movie ever made because it works as a movie, even if you aren't much of a fan of Talking Heads' music (and God knows, I got over my subsequent obsession with them). From David Byrne's hopeful, intellectual-at-summer-camp rendition of "Psycho Killer" all the way to the manic version of "Crosseyed and Painless", it builds and builds and grips your attention. The most striking thing about it, watching it again 20 years later, is just how much this foursome of uptight preppies could rock. Their enjoyment of their own music is genuine, unforced and palpable. Byrne cheerfully admits on the commentary that he was going through a "dictator" phase at the time, to the point that he wouldn't even allow plastic cups of water onstage, because it would spoil the visual effect; if ever a band needed them, it was this one. In the studio, they could sound clipped and filtered to a fare-thee-well, but live, they had a real swing.Read more ›
The band rock and the audience enjoys. Remastered and digitally enhanced compared to the video version.
An all time materpiece.
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