As former lead singer and artistic mainspring of the band Talking Heads, David Byrne has come a far piece from the hallowed squalor of CBGB’s, where he and his fellow Heads entered the lion’s den of punk in their Lacoste tops and boating shoes and conquered all doubters. Once a jittery, jangly Anthony Perkins type, today a genial snow-haired gent, Byrne has achieved grandmaster status as a multi-creative: film director (True Stories, a quirky cult favorite achieving canon status last year with the Criterion Collection’s reissue on DVD and Blu-Ray), dance composer (The Catherine Wheel), pop musical inventor (Here Lies Love, Joan of Arc: Into the Fire), social satirist (Your Action World: Winners Are Losers with a New Attitude), and roving ambassador for world music with his own record label, Luaka Bop. What’s left? Broadway, baby!
Beginning October 4, Byrne and an 11-person ensemble of international musicians move into the Hudson Theatre with a concert staging of his 2018 album American Utopia, performing numbers from the Byrne songbook that span his T-Head days up to the eclectic present. Using wireless instruments, the musicians will be able to move and groove joyously untethered. Gospel uplift with a funky beat—that’s the ticket. —James Wolcott