The eccentric rock star David Byrne and St. Vincent perform at the 5th Avenue Theatre Wednesday as part of their "Love This Giant" tour.
The first and only time I met David Byrne, I came away from the encounter with an undeniable sense that he was one of the oddest rock stars ever. That might have been obvious from the music of the Talking Heads, or Jonathan Demme’s documentary “Stop Making Sense,” but somehow I had failed to suspect this before Byrne was standing before me in the flesh.
The occasion was one of Byrne’s first solo tours. I was ushered backstage after a concert to meet Byrne, but the concert promoter warned me, “He’s a bit strange.” That proved to be an understatement.
Byrne acted sincerely pleased to meet everyone, but he wouldn’t shake hands. “That’s how you get germs,” he told me. He was right, of course.
But Byrne was already holding hands with an elderly woman, who looked a bit like Queen Elizabeth. They spent the rest of the post-concert party waltzing around the room, the woman waltzing very slowly.
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Byrne’s quirkiness has always been central to his musical vision with the Heads, his solo work, and even his Luaka Bop label. His most recent release, “Love This Giant,” continues in that vein. The album is a collaboration with singer/songwriter Annie Clark, who performs as St. Vincent.
St. Vincent is as iconoclastic as Byrne, and her smoky voice is an interesting contrast with his. They met at a Bjork concert, exactly the left-of-center setting you’d expect.
Their tour dates so far have earned raves for originality, and for the show’s extensive use of choreography. Byrne, Clark and the rest of the band — which includes eight brass players — are constantly in motion on the stage. Expect something that could have played at On the Boards if Byrne wasn’t such a star. Instead, the concert is at the 5th Avenue, a perfect venue for such a theatric performer. Byrne is even expected to perform a few Talking Heads songs including “Burning Down the House.”
It should be an ideal show for a true fan. And if you do get backstage, try a fist bump.