David Byrne Mystified by Houston's Sprawl, Loves Jones Hall

Yesterday one of our readers (thanks, Mimi!) posted a comment with a link to David Byrne's blog about the white-haired world-pop eminence's thoughts and experiences while on tour. Apparently Byrne got to spend quite a bit of time in Houston, because the entry surrounding his (excellent) June 15 Jones Hall show is fairly long. Byrne, who took a bike ride around downtown and what sounds like the Fourth Ward/Upper Montrose area shortly after his bus pulled up to Jones Hall, calls the Federal Reserve Bank building a "weird, almost surreal postmodern edifice" and, commenting on the pockets of high-rises scattered all over town, says "I imagine if oil companies could control more cities, they'd all look like this." That stings a little, Dave, but you're right. Like many other visitors to Houston, Byrne was astounded by our patchwork urban planning (or non-planning, as the case may be)...

"We pass a residential neighborhood with lovely oak trees shading the street, and then, without any major landmark to let us know we've crossed a line, we're in the ghetto, with shotgun shacks and old black men sitting on stoops in the withering heat. Boarded up houses, and vacant lots with cars on blocks."

And take a bow, Jones Hall. After filling in his readers on some biographical minutae of namesake Jesse H. Jones (real estate entrepeneur, Secretary of Commerce, Chronicle owner, etc.), Byrne says "the stage sound is possibly the best of any hall we've played in. Extremely dry (not echoey) for a symphony hall..." After the show, Byrne and his entourage visited La Carafe about 10 minutes after Rocks Off had left. (Hey, it was late and we had a review to write.) Read his entire Houston diary here.

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