Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Everything's Better with Byrne

David Byrne has to be one of the most amazing artists in the world - musically, conceptually and visually. He's a Renaissance kind of guy, who as members of the Extra-Action Marching Band (EAMB) of San Francisco tell me, is very down-to-earth sort of person. Well I had the great pleasure not only of seeing Bryne's concert last night in San Francisco but to meet and dance with members of the EAMB!
  • I'm sure that Davies Symphony Hall has not been rocked so heavily in perhaps years or eons. But when Byrne's band took the stage and began playing new songs from his latest album with Brian Eno and then old favorites from his other albums, it was difficult NOT to dance.
Not only did he have two drummers/percussionists along with a keyboard player, other guitarists and amazing back-up singers, but he had three dancers with him! I suspected something was up when I saw what looked like a portable dance floor on the stage along with all the instruments set up before they started.
  • They did a closing number and got called back for an encore, which they did and got the whole joint jumping. The Bryne says, please clear the aisles for the Extra-Action Marching Band, who began to march down the aisles, as Bryne and his band left the stage, then proceeded to take the stage. As you can tell from the photo from their website, EAMB is not your run-of-the-mill marching band. As a matter of fact, don't think they'll be invited to any high school football games at any time in the near future.
Then Bryne and band and dancers come back to the stage for a truly smokin' version of Burning Down the House. The energy was amazing both from the stage and the audience.
  • So, after we leave the concert hall, we go back over to Jardiniere, which is only a 1/2 block away, for a drink after the show. Before the show we had met our niece Brandy over there for dinner. It's an upscale restaurant serving wonderful French-influenced California cusine. We each get a drink of wine and sit down and in marchs..... yup .... the Extra-Action Marching Band who proceeded to take over the bar area. They played and the pom pom kids (2 men and 3 women) did their shimmy-shaking thing. I even got pulled into a dance with them. We chatted one of the trumpet players named Rick (I think, I was on my 2nd glass o'vino) and one of the dancing girls - Ena.
We asked them how they got to play with Bryne and they told us that they descended on him at a book signing in the Bay Area a few years ago. He really enjoyed their shtick and musicianship and asked them to play with him down in LA a while back. Bryne then told them he'd comp them into the show that night, forgetting there were so many of them - 30 at their largest, but it seemed like there weren't that many last night.
  • All in all, a night to remember! Not so memorable was our stay that evening at the Standford Hotel on snob, I mean Nob Hill. More on that in the next post, where we will ask the question why hotels have terrible, gaudy carpeting in the halls!
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