Live: David Byrne Regales, Like, 10 Million People at Prospect Park


David Byrne
Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park
Monday, June 8

A lesson we forget every winter and relearn every summer is how nuts New Yorkers are when it comes to free outdoor shows — and how many New Yorkers there are. Prospect Park is absurdly mobbed tonight, an enormous line into the Bandshell winding off into the quite-possibly-CGI’d distance, a queue so intimidating most folks just form impromptu refugee camps outside the free show’s perimeter, thoroughly impeding the joggers/bikers traversing the road that abuts the Bandshell lawn’s back fence. Many eye the fence and consider jumping it. A few actually do. A few of those aren’t immediately sassed by security and forced to jump back over.

To this tableau of seething humanity (including the Lord of the Flies-ish gang of kids on the Bandshell lawn who spend the whole show tackling each other), David Byrne is a secondary concern, a booming and pleasant voice rising above the general din. It’s just as well: He plays essentially the same set as back in late February at Radio City: the all-white outfits, the goofy dancing, (eventually) the tutus, the mix of tunes from the excellent electro-gospel Brian Eno collaboration Everything That Happens Will Happen Today and old Talking Heads hits.

“Once in a Lifetime,” as bizarrely buoyant as ever, is the crowd’s highlight; “I Feel My Stuff,” from Everything, a particularly eerie romp that starts with skittery piano, ends with (relatively) unhinged rock catharsis, and features much goofy/spooky dancing in between, is clearly David’s highlight, wherein he seems slightly less aloof than usual. The sound is pretty fantastic, actually, given that is has to carry across like a half-mile radius, hit folks watching the whole show on a giant TV screen, etc. The dancing looks even cornier and less “professional” from a distance, but this seems very intentional, that’s it’s no better or more jubilant than the gangs of fans dancing awkwardly but joyfully on the lawn to “Crosseyed and Painless.” The tutus do come out eventually, but you have to wait an encore or three.