It's been more than 25 years since the release of the Talking Heads' undeniably fantastic concert film, Stop Making Sense, but a new film is out to prove that David Byrne has still got it. Ride, Rise, Roar is a new concert film directed by David Hillman Curtis documenting rehearsals and performances from Byrne's 2008 tour.
The film opens with Byrne, his hair now white and dressed in all-white (how Wayne Coyne of him), playing "Once in a Lifetime." He's obviously older, but he still has wide-open eyes, a childlike expression, and utterly bizarre moves. He resembles a curious owl playing guitar. Three young dancers, constantly smiling, twist and wind their way through extraterrestrial dance moves.
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Thankfully, the documentary leaves out the typical tour footage--no hotel check-ins, burger pit-stops, or incoherent green-room ramblings. Instead, it focuses on dialogue between the choreographers and band members. The choreographers, including Annie B. Parson and Noemie LaFrance, describe their creative processes for a specific piece followed by the piece itself. There's plenty of rehearsal footage in between that really captures a room full of talented people having way too much fun. No band member is left behind in the choreography process--everyone gets their own special moves for each song. Even the background singers seem surprised and excited to have new demands made of them.
And David Byrne? He's still got it. The songs, new and old, sound fresh, and the band is tight as ever.
The three dancers, Lily Baldwin, Steve Reker and Natalie Kuhn, are way too much fun to watch. The film focuses on their moves as much as it does on Byrne--his idea to fully integrate the show with movement is pretty successful; everyone's an equal partner onstage. (It puts Lady Gaga and her booty-dancers to shame.) Highlights include the slumping-in-the-office-chair dance, the we-play-unplugged-guitars dance, lots of jogging in place, everyone donning tutus, and some serious Pentecostal-esque shaking routines.
Ride, Rise, Roar is showing Saturday November 13th at the Edwards Greenway Theater as part of the 2010 Cinema Arts Festival Houston.