A Look Inside David Byrne's American Utopia Tour

David Byrne has been redefining the concert music experience in 2018 with his American Utopia Tour, in support of his latest solo LP of the same name. The Talking Heads frontman formed a collective of a dozen musicians and performers who move around with their respective, unplugged instruments. You read that right, no amps are present at this show. You might be wondering how music thats meant to be LOUD could ever be played in such a fashion. Well you can see for yourself in a video below.

Along the tour route, Byrne and his new age marching band have been hitting up not only auditoriums, but festivals as well. Yes, they are able to accomplish their bizarre stage performance in an outside setting among thousands. Watch them slaying at Coachella earlier this year below.


The setlists have leaned heavily on tracks off of American Utopia and reimagined Talking Heads classics. "Blind," "Burning Down the House," I, Zimbra," "Slippery People," and "This Must Be The Place (Naiive Melody)" are just a few Talking Heads cuts you can expect to hear at one of these sets. As the band methodically move around the stage in true performance-art fashion, they are joined by two professional dancers, one of whom resemblesVeep’s Matt Walsh in cabaret makeup.

Byrne and his ensemble also do a cover of Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout," and take on a track from Byrne and St. Vincent's collaborative album, "I Should Watch TV." The setlist has remained constant on the entire tour, as everything is carefully choreographed to fall in place that way. However, now that fall is here, Byrne has tact some new cuts onto the setlist. On October 2nd in Atlanta, they performed "Dancing Together," a song Byrne recorded with Fatboy Slim. The next night in Birmingham, Alabama, they live debuted American Utopia's "Gasoline and Dirty Sheets" for the first time ever. Peep the setlist from this show below.

David Byrne

Many critics have described the show as one of the "best concerts ever." It's thrilling and exceeds what fans expect a rock concert experience to be like. Everyone on the stage is in surrealist form as they sport (some unidentifiable) wireless instruments strapped to their bodies, grey uniform suits, and bare feet. It's no secret that Byrne, age 66, is a musical genius. Since the 70s, this man has melted minds by incorporating sounds from inaccessible music around the world and placed it inside of mainstream rock, deeming it cool and worthy.

During the show, you'll hear this world music influence as rhythms and sounds from Latin America, Africa and other distant lands are on display. Throughout this tour he's brought other eclectic musicians onto the stage with him like Laura Mulva (7/3/28), Steve Scales (5/9/18), Ibeyi (8/18/18 + 8/22/18), and as of late, Merrill Garbus of the band Tune-Yards.

Byrne still has over a month of tour dates left, including appearances at ACL Music Fest and a stint in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Head to this website for more info.

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