My earliest memories include the China album by Vangelis, the songs White Room and Tales of Brave Ulysses by Cream, and Talking Heads on repeat. Every song, every family party, every VCR had Stop Making Sense, every time I’d browse dad’s vinyl a Talking Heads cover would catch my eye. Stop Making Sense was one of the movies my father insisted I watch. Others included Real Genius, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Roots, Witness, and the Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob. Mom also liked Talking Heads. She connected to a different aspect though. While dad liked the music, the energy, and the absurdity, mom connected to the art. In 2001 (ish), mom and I saw a David Byrne solo show. We spend most of the time before the show flipping through his books at the merch table. We each bought different ones and discussed what we liked about each. That night at Irving Plaza, David played with a string section and included a few Talking Heads songs. Most notably, he told the origin of And She Was. We had a good laugh as mom used to make LSD back in the day and knew I loved Yoo-hoo… and acid. She died five years later and we played Burning Down the House during the recessional before she was cremated.
Flash forward to 2016. Rumblings in the lot of a Phish show at the Mann swirled around a Talking Heads after party. Once confirmed, I meet my new friends at Ardmore for a genuine surprise. Start Making Sense was playing. Aside from the pithy t-shirt which said “Feel the Byrne,” and the remnant excitement of a terrific Phish show, these guys were amazing! I was on the side of the stage which provided a great view of everyone in the front row, the band, and I still had room to dance. That was the first time I saw them. I bought the shirt.
New Years eve Phish run later that year would be another great opportunity to see them. Irving Plaza. Fitting yes? Much energy, so excite! A few friends were unsure what to do that night. I asked if they liked Talking Heads. Before they could speak I saw that light blaze forth in their eyes and I took their hands and said, “Come with me.” My most Doctor Who moment to date. If you want to build powerful trust with someone, bring them to see their new favorite band for the first time.
Hair tie and his special lady came in from the east and I met them and red-dread at the show. Island girl double booked herself and was at TAB at the Cap. I thought everyone had seen Start Making Sense but they hadn’t and had already trusted me to drive three hours for the show.
Until the summer comes, the Stone Pony shows are indoors. It’s a long narrow venue which means you have to fight through the crowd to go anywhere; Seemingly more so than at other venues. There was not much room to dance up close but we maneuvered and found some clear floor. At one point this was near the outdoor smoking area in front of a speaker. Towards the end of the night, we managed to get to the front of the stage and dance next to a family having tons of fun. They were a great example of the mixed crowd. All ages, all vibes (and smells) came from all directions. The shore venue draws fewer people in the cold months but parking is easy.
The show was great of course. Apparently, I undersold the amazing show we were all in store for. The band gained three new fans and we got to stroll the beach after the show. A nearly full moon lit the waves, the sand was soft, and the cold water made for better sound than play. We finished the night at a diner laughing and mustering the energy for the drive home.