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Talking Heads: Chronology [DVD] [2011]

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Eagle Rock
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Nov. 2011
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HFZUTE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,734 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Chronology pulls together live performances from across Talking Heads career. It starts with their earliest days at CBGB and The Kitchen in New York City in the mid-seventies, through their breakthrough years in the late seventies and on to global success in the eighties. They completed their last tour in 1983 although they would continue to make very successful albums throughout the eighties before officially breaking up in 1991. The DVD concludes with their reunion performance of Life During Wartime on their induction into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002. Bonus Features Full audio commentary by David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. 35 minute South Bank Show feature (1979) David Byrne interview (1978)

Customer Reviews

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The claim that this is a career-long appraisal is slightly misleading. Nearly a third of the 18 tracks (some in grainy black and white) come from the pre-Jerry Harrison trio in the mid 1970s, tracks 7-12 see the quartet in the late 1970s and tracks 13-17 provide performances from the expanded line-up from 1980 to 1983. The concluding track is from 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony performance of "Life During Wartime".

The overall standard is excellent, needless to say, even if nothing matches "Stop Making Sense" or the newly-released "Burning Down Rome" concert from 1980. To me though, the real merit is in the wealth of special features. There is a 20-odd page essay/existential rant from Lester Bangs dating from August 1979 which never saw the light of day. To anyone unfamiliar with the great man's style, his approach to topics bears comparison with writers such as Rebecca West and Proust in the sense that this essay is about two subject - Talking Heads and everything else. While the 9 minute interview with David Byrne from 1978 is painful, the South Bank Show from that year is fascinating as is the audio commentary from all four band members (a device also employed on the re-release of "Stop Making Sense" providing affectionate recollection and context for what we see on screen.

In short, what we have is a beautifully packaged document focusing on the earlier years of a group whose evolution from preppy, introverted WASPs into an all-dancing, thrusting multi-racial entourage is one of the most magical stories in music. Enjoy
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By Syriat TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2012
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Talking Heads have had a good run with retrospectives and live recordings. The Name of This Band is a supreme concert, Stop Making Sense is the best live DVD ever and the Brick and box sets were well worth while and had some good rarities on them. So to have a new DVD called Chronology (only covering songs up to 1982) which even has one song which is lip sync'd seem a little superfluous. However, the extra's alone make this a worthy purchase and the recordings themselves are very impressive and have made me go back to Talking Heads again.

It starts off with black and white footage from CBGB's when they were a three piece. In fact the first song, 'with our love', isn't even recorded here in full. But the performances are excellent. You can see David Byrne turn from the shy man he was into something else later on. Some footage throughout is black and white (including the Letterman performance at the bands insistence). The quality is always good though. For me the stand-outs are Animals (because its too rarely heard live), Crosseyed and Painless (because with the extended band it just is one of their best live tracks) and the Rock n Roll hall of fame version of Life During Wartime - the only cut here from after 1982 but with a song of the earlier period. Its a DVD that chronicles well a band which grew during their time.

And that would be enough normally to warrant me saying its worth it. But as I have already mentioned the extras are the icing on the cake - two in particular. The first is The South Bank Show from 1979 with Talking Heads. Lasting 35 minutes it has live cuts as well as interviews. Its so insightful into where they were at the time and what their process were.
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By Home on 23 April 2014
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The best part for me was seeing the Southbank documentary circa 1979 which turned me on to this band in a big way. I saw the band the following year in London supported by U2! The first 4 albums were greatr, then they went off the boil....
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I thought it was great, even though when I bought it I was under the impression that it was only a DVD. The 'book' that came with it as it was very insightful and detailed. The DVD was pretty good too, but I recommend you watch it with the commentary track with David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison. I was a bit disapointed that it didn't feature anything between 1983 and 2002. If you are a fan of the Talking Heads, and especially if you prefer their early stuff, I would encourage you all to buy it.
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This DVD features live performances of Talking Heads from 1975 to 2002. There's also a bonus section which includes an interview with David Byrne. Psycho Killer on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1978 is not featured, but there is Don't Worry About The Government from the same performance which is just as good. However, Psycho Killer at CBGB in 1975 is included and it's a fine, understated version. David Byrne is fresh-faced and looking handsome as always. All in all a great DVD if you love Talking Heads.
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