Music famously fixes you in time and place; a song you heard incessantly twenty years ago will always bring you back to that moment, the people you were with, the hopes you might have harbored for your career, the relationships for which you pined.
As such, this gorgeous 25th anniversary Blu-ray release of Jonathan Demme’s seminal 1985 concert film of the Talking Heads playing over the course of three nights in a Hollywood venue, takes this particular critic back to Cambridge, Mass., visiting a friend at Harvard and checking the film with his roomies, leaving the theater an hour and a half later, mouth agape, walking in stunned silence as we all tried to process the magic we had just witnessed. David Byrne, the versatile, theatrical front man of the band, has never been more compelling. The band covers a wide range from their back catalogue, including an acoustic “Psycho Killer” (with Byrne accompanied by a drum machine), “Life During Wartime,” “Once in a Lifetime” (with Byrne’s signature giant suit) and “Burning Down the House,” — possibly their greatest hit.
Through them all, Demme’s camera remains dedicated to recreating the very vibe of the band, less showy MTV-style quick cuts and more nuanced angles and expressions, capturing the flavor of seeing them live. This new edition boasts particularly spectacular sound to accompany possibly the sharpest the transfer has looked since the film was originally released. Simply put, this is an edition not to be missed, whether for simple nostalgia or discovering a quintessential ’80s band at the peak of their creative powers.
If that were not enough, this edition is also loaded with some pretty fascinating bonus material, including a 1999 press conference (and behind-the-scenes glimpse) of the four original members, additional concert footage and a David Byrne interview, conducted by David Byrne.
Piers Marchant is a Philly-based writer and editor, and the EIC (and film critic) for two.one.five magazine (215mag.com). His reviews can be found on 215mag.com and his tumblr blog, Sweet Smell of Success. You can also follow him on twitter @kafkaesque83.