Taken To the River: David Byrne in Prospect Park

by June 9th, 2009 - Culture » Sounds »

I caught wind earlier that day, June 9th 2009, that David Byrne was playing a free show as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn concert series in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I thought to myself…

“God Damn…I love him…”

“I bet there’s gonna be god-awful hipsters everywhere…a sea of sucking humanity…one big coffin…”

“And, of course, I have to mount an offensive against Sansha’s Nation in Eve Online…lest their evil ways go unpunished…”

But I decided to go anyway and almost immediately regretted it as I was confronted with that coffin of sucking humanity in the form of a monster, monster line at the entrance.


I went for a walk and explored Prospect Park, which is quite brilliant. Its landscape rolled and changed shape, eventually leading a wooded path unlike most found in Central Park…a real dense woods of living things and merry men and swamp rats, indeed. A waterfall lies at its one entrance and in its immediately succeeding tranquil pond I spotted two…very…lucky…ducks.

But enough of that…I quickly remembered that I had seen trees previously and hurried back to the concert to find entrance now only a mere minute or so away.

Finding my way to those in the know that I knew, I settled down for the show.

It had long been high on my list of things to experience that I should be able to hear David Byrne perform Talking Heads songs sans a somewhat unlikely reunion. It is such that I was pleased to find the evening had a very heavy mixture of Talking Heads songs mixed with selections from David Byrne’s collaborations with Brian Eno, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and Everything that Happens Will Happen Today, the tour for the latter of which the night was a continuation of.

The supporting musicians, accompanying dancers, and the man himself performed admirably throughout the night; but what made the night truly special were the memories of all the better shows that he never actually played.

I remember working at the Laneco grocery store in Nazareth, Pennsylvania near the Nazareth Speedway. Throughout my duties, I often had my head plugged into a headset listening to the Talking Heads collection Sand in the Vaseline. And I remember smoking old lady cigarettes with old ladies in the break room. I remember charging through a lightning storm, a torrential downpour, saving cars from hurdling carts, dodging electric shocks. I remember blasting out my adolescent airs to “Burning Down the House” as I wrangled the last of the carts just before closing time, hunting them through the darker, lonelier lots of the store, sickly green and orange lights creating pools of the end of the day. And I remember more…

I remember listening to David Byrne’s David Byrne solo album draped on, over, around, and under my basement bed for an entire night and disliking it immensely…until I loved it….and…

I remember my freshman year in college, a much beloved lonely dirty solo cardboard box dorm room cluttered with me, myself, and my ideas and the first person I ever made out with…after standing on my head in the corner of the bed at the absurdity of our mounting scene watching Fellini on the small screen. Myself, a gentleman, too gentlemanly fumbling through my first time and unwilling to go further, yet more than sufficient. And afterward, I smoked a cigarette and watched cracks of golden light tearing through the room’s cardboard coverings striking the face of the other person in the room leaning up against the stereo which was playing David Byrne’s solo album on repeat…

“Was it nothing at all…?”

And I remember more…but those memories are perhaps too personal…and may never have happened…

And so this night, while not special itself, was perhaps more like the idea of going to church than going to church is…

You know any NEW jokes?

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