Blesok no. 27, July-August, 2002
Sound Reviews


Once in a Lifetime?!
The concert of David Byrne in Universal Hall

Ljupčo Jolevski


Skopje capitulated almost after the first riff of the cult hero’s guitar… Or it happened before more of two decades when he was the top figure of the unforgettable band “Talking Heads”?

     Armed with the charm of a New Yorker, with beautiful sense of humor and with a credit from the past that says: David Byrne is the music hero from the end of the 70’s and the start of the 80’s, at the “Off-Fest” he came – as one of the greatest and the most commercial stars in the world (with X-press 2 and the remix of his song “Lazy” he is at the top of the world’s music hit-lists across the globe), the star that definitely succeeds even at the – so called – fine-music-forms-lovers. This fact did conditioned the full-crowded hall (on the last two days before the concert was almost impossible to find a ticket for the concert), and at the moments the hall seemed that will “blow”, and that didn’t happened long years (even decades) back. The Universal Hall was that much crowded that in one moment seemed it will fall apart as a sand castle, and it seemed real that Skopje will remain without the only (close to) decent covered concert place.
     And it’s understandable that Skopje capitulated almost after the first riff of the cult hero’s guitar. It probably already happened two decades ago, when he was the top figure in the unforgettable band “Talking Heads”, and since then, only the moment when the encounter will happen was in question, the moment when all the emotions will burst. Whatever, faced with the enchanted audience in great mood for fun, Burn and his band (Paul Fraser – bass, John Pelton – drums and Mauro Refosko – percussion, the musicians with which he recorded the greatest part of his album “Into The Eyeball”) started to create the atmosphere of portioned energy and sophisticated creativity. Although, the offer was spiced not only with the selected music numbers from his solo albums (as his last “Rei Momo”, “The Forest”, “Uh-Oh”…), but also with (on the great joy of the dynamic and in mood for dancing audience) the classical themes that made David’s glorious past (as for example, the high-octane “Once in a Lifetime”). The most of the time, Burn & Co. were escorted by the catgut sextet from Austin, Texas, which fill escort him at the following Tour. So, this music missionary, in this way, presents the fact that the concept he develops in this time of synthesized sounds, the electronic devices aren’t of the most importance, but the warm sound-color of the acoustic instruments, the dynamics of the feelings and the creativity of the men that have sense for music and who create it. And, what we must admit, that is the privilege of the great artists.

     And finally, after almost two hours and two comebacks on the stage (when Burn, amazingly for the thorough chronic-writers, reached for the Goran Bregovic’s “Ausensia”, well-known to us from the repertoire of Cesaria Evora, on the discontent of the audience that waited for the “Psycho Killer”, “Road To Nowhere” and for a bunch of other memories of their “youth”), he and the boys from his band, surprised by the remarkably warm reception of the Skopje audience, retired from the stage. In the air remained to “hang” the cold professionalism and the rules of the western show biz, the rules for which, we “southerners” doesn’t have to have understanding.
     Whatever, here in Macedonia we could see and hear David Byrne. And, we did survived the long-expected encounter, and the newly promoted “Off-Fest” in his annals can note that exactly with the David Byrnes’ concert really started its exciting history.

Translated by: Petar Volnarovski

sound excerpt




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