Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Concert Recommendation: David Byrne with Poi Dog Pondering, Navy Pier Skyline Stage, June 17 and 21

David Byrne played Chicago on September 14, 2001. Let me rephrase this to highlight its significance: David Byrne played Chicago three days after 9/11 (a date so indelible it requires no year.) He and his large backing band boarded a bus to make sure the show happened, a ray of hope shining all the way from New York. PJ Harvey had played the same venue the night before and definitely rocked harder, but Byrne was cooler. The whole band was musically tight, but they also had a lot of fun.

At one point, former Talking Head introduced a song merely by saying it was hugely inappropriate in light of recent tragic events. Murmurs quickly went through the crowd: take your pick: "Psycho Killer, " "Burning Down the House" or "Life During Wartime." Who knew so many Talking Heads songs could suddenly take on such import based on a single incident? For what it's worth, "Life" was the inappropriate song he had in mind.

That Poi Dog Pondering are opening is particularly appropriate. Although they've never aped the Talking Heads' sound, they have drawn percussion inspiration from the same sources.

David Byrne plays the Navy Pier Skyline Stage with Poi Dog Pondering at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 17 and Monday, June 21.

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