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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best concert movie - even if you aren't a fan..., 11 May 2004
This review is from: Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense [1994] [DVD] [1984] (DVD)
"Stop Making Sense" changed my life. The album, actually, not the film; I was 15, on a disastrous school trip to Amsterdam (I know, I know, what were they thinking sending a bunch of drink-and-drug crazed mid-teens to Amsterdam, of all places) and somebody lent me a tape of the original soundtrack album, a great Talking Heads primer in its own right. I had been having a spectacularly bad time, and had never much liked the Heads before, but somewhere in there I glimpsed the psychodrama, so much clearer in the movie, of a nerdy white boy loosening up - and I never looked back.
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. The extra musicians are superb (it's worth watching just for Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt's wacky dance moves) but the drama of the film is in the sequencing of the songs, the passion of the performances, and the care with with Jonathan Demme registers the interactions between the musicians.
The commentary is fun (Tina Weymouth's sardonic remarks about her shapeless stage costume are priceless) and if you happen to have digital audio, I'm sure it sounds fab. Even on my analogue telly, it's a beauty; all the evidence you need to refute the idea that Talking Heads were too clever and not a real band. I could still wish that the Dolette McDonald/Nona Hendryx/Busta Jones/Adrian Belew lineup was caught on film, but until they see fit to rerelease "The Name of This Band is Talking Heads" on CD, this is, as stated above, a guaranteed cure for the blues and the closest any of us will ever get to being there. Outstanding.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Dec 2011 16:20:02 GMT
D. Donnelly says:
Yeh great concert dvd mate from one of my favourite bands. Hope you did get round to buying the double cd version of The name Of This band Is Talking Heads, im playing it now as i type this lol.

Michael, Dundee
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