What's new

David Byrne's American Utopia Region B (1 Viewer)

titch

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
1,167
Real Name
Kevin Oppegaard
If Stop Making Sense is the greatest concert film ever made, then David Byrne's American Utopia isn't all that far behind. The recently released Region B-locked UK release is excellent - both the audio and visual quality are first rate. What's unusual - and very welcome - is that this disc is subtitled, songs included. Dogwoof doesn't always provide subtitling. I've been a Talking Heads fan for decades, but I'll admit, I haven't caught the lyrics to all songs before. The sound isn't as punchy as it is on the Stop Making Sense blu ray, but the 5.1 mix opens up the soundstage far better than the CD soundtrack does.

I was fortunate enough to catch this tour live, in Amsterdam, November 2018. It was the best concert I have ever seen and the filmed Broadway version is quite faithful to that experience, although David Byrne has introductions to most of his songs on the Broadway production, while there was little banter in between songs during the live performance I attended.

The only minor quibble I have about this film experience, is that Spike Lee chose to film from all angles, including overhead shots. While this displays the brilliant choreography of the production, it is completely different to the "live experience", because then you only ever see the performers from in front. I disliked not being able to keep focussed on whatever I found most appealing visually, which I did during the live concert, instead having to constantly watch cuts to what Spike Lee found most interesting. There was really so much going on all the time on the stage, that I feel Spike Lee could have used more wide shots, instead of close-ups - something that Jonathan Demme was careful to do during Stop Making Sense.

IMG_3180.jpg
 

SeanSKA

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
145
Real Name
Sean
I was actually there at one of the shows filmed (a Saturday mantinee; Lee also filmed the evening show). It was one of the best things I have ever seen live, and I thought the film was brilliantly done. So far I have watched it on HBO 3 times. Having seen the show both live and filmed, I found them to be different but equally brilliant experiences.

I'm hoping it gets a blu-ray release here in America...maybe WB Archives ?
 

titch

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
1,167
Real Name
Kevin Oppegaard
I was actually there at one of the shows filmed (a Saturday mantinee; Lee also filmed the evening show). It was one of the best things I have ever seen live, and I thought the film was brilliantly done. So far I have watched it on HBO 3 times. Having seen the show both live and filmed, I found them to be different but equally brilliant experiences.

I'm hoping it gets a blu-ray release here in America...maybe WB Archives ?
It has the Universal logo at the start of the Blu-ray disc.

I must say, I seldom enjoy going to concerts these days and I certainly never travel to another country to see one. But I seriously tried to get tickets to see American Utopia on Broadway - it was just too expensive with flights over from Norway for the dates that had available tickets! So I'm really glad that Spike Lee filmed this for posterity. The picture quality is really good. I've been wishing for a long time that the Stop Making Sense film would get a fresh scan.
IMG_6844.jpg
IMG_0009.JPG
 

SeanSKA

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
145
Real Name
Sean
It has the Universal logo at the start of the Blu-ray disc.

I must say, I seldom enjoy going to concerts these days and I certainly never travel to another country to see one. But I seriously tried to get tickets to see American Utopia on Broadway - it was just too expensive with flights over from Norway for the dates that had available tickets! So I'm really glad that Spike Lee filmed this for posterity. The picture quality is really good. I've been wishing for a long time that the Stop Making Sense film would get a fresh scan.
View attachment 86744 View attachment 86746

My wife gave us the tickets as my Christmas present...one of the best gifts I ever received.
We were in the first balcony, a camera crew right near us, and another one situated at the other side of the balcony as well. Before the show started , Spike Lee came out and told the crowd about the filming, and to really show our enthusiasm...He told us that he had seen the show several times, and the audiences at the evening show were always more demonstrative, to work up the afternon matinee audience LOL !
 

Dennis Gallagher

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
67
Real Name
Dennis T. Gallagher
My wife gave us the tickets as my Christmas present...one of the best gifts I ever received.
We were in the first balcony, a camera crew right near us, and another one situated at the other side of the balcony as well. Before the show started , Spike Lee came out and told the crowd about the filming, and to really show our enthusiasm...He told us that he had seen the show several times, and the audiences at the evening show were always more demonstrative, to work up the afternon matinee audience LOL !
One week away from the first anniversary of the recording - February 1, 2020 - which seems like an eternity. I was at the evening show and get four frames of immortality at the 1:39:23 mark as the band's parading around the theater. My curious memory of the experience is Spike Lee decked out in some kind of onesie (no documentation of course as they were quite serious about no recording of any kind.) (FWIW - "Hadestown" in the afternoon so quite a day. I remember a smattering of people already wearing masks; realizing in hindsight that the virus was probably already around us.)
 

SeanSKA

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
145
Real Name
Sean
One week away from the first anniversary of the recording - February 1, 2020 - which seems like an eternity. I was at the evening show and get four frames of immortality at the 1:39:23 mark as the band's parading around the theater. My curious memory of the experience is Spike Lee decked out in some kind of onesie (no documentation of course as they were quite serious about no recording of any kind.) (FWIW - "Hadestown" in the afternoon so quite a day. I remember a smattering of people already wearing masks; realizing in hindsight that the virus was probably already around us.)

One year ago, and it seems like a lifetime...
After the show, we went across the street to Virgils BBQ (excellent ribs and chicken)..the place was jammed packed.... Just imagine actually sitting in a crowded restaurant, after sitting for 2 hours in a crowded theater. That was just normal life less than a year ago....
 

titch

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
1,167
Real Name
Kevin Oppegaard
One year ago, and it seems like a lifetime...
After the show, we went across the street to Virgils BBQ (excellent ribs and chicken)..the place was jammed packed.... Just imagine actually sitting in a crowded restaurant, after sitting for 2 hours in a crowded theater. That was just normal life less than a year ago....
Makes me appreciate even more the spur-of-the-moment decision between two of my friends and myself to spend a weekend travelling to Amsterdam to see this a year and a half ago. The concert was sold out but we decided to splurge and found tickets via premium reseller. Cost us a fortune. Revisiting my heroes in concert in their twilight years has almost always been a letdown. After seeing Madonna and AC/DC in concert 10 years ago, I decided enough was enough.

I'd never seen Talking Heads live, but Stop Making Sense has been one of my absolute favourite films, since a pal and I drove up to Oslo to see it in a tiny flea pit, in 1986. So there was definitely a major potential of disappointment in going to see David Byrne many years after his previous peak. I didn't think the American Utopia album was good either. I think that most of his solo albums have been a bit hit and miss, apart from Rei Momo.

But the concert was amazingly good. The Talking Heads songs were fantastically reworked and performed and the four tracks from the American Utopia album were brilliant. Who would have thought that the final cut on the album, Here, could have opened the concert so remarkably and been about the human brain? We're truly fortunate that we have this film to remember a unique evening by.
 

Bartman

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 5, 2017
Messages
233
Real Name
Trevor Bartram
Thanks for the reminder, I'd forgotten about this. It isn't streaming from Netflix or Prime so I've put it in my Netflix DVD list!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
347,787
Messages
4,826,037
Members
142,175
Latest member
AlexisMori
Recent bookmarks
0
Top