Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense (1984 – Blu-Ray)

“I got a girlfriend that’s better than this, but you don’t remember at all, as we get older and stop making sense, you won’t find her waiting long”

I’ve read a quote describing 1984’s ‘Stop Making Sense’ as “The Citizen Kane of the concert movies”.  Indeed Talking Heads front man David Byrne and Academy Award winning Director Jonathan Demme (‘The Silence Of The Lambs’) conceived the film as no mere live document but a unique artistic statement.  BAFTA award-winning Cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth (‘Blade Runner’), acclaimed Graphic Designer Pablo Ferro (‘Dr. Strangelove’) and several members of Parliament-Funkadelic round out the impressive artistic rostra.

Some of the teams ideas included painting most of the equipment matt-black so it wouldn’t stand out on camera, only using white light, using muted tones for the ‘costumes’ so as not to distract from the action, shooting each song in a different style, using almost no audience shots and most striking of all, building the setup as the concert goes on.  So the movie opens with Byrne walking out all on his own with a guitar and a boom-box, onto a completely empty stage to perform ‘Psycho Killer’.  Then song by song, the road crew role out a new piece of equipment and one more member of the band arrives, until your watching a nine piece Punk-Funk supergroup, backed by huge projection screens.  The energy on display gets more frenetic as each song goes by, featuring the whole band jogging on the spot and Byrne doing laps of the stage and dancing with a lamp.  It all reaches a crescendo with a 12 minute double whammy of Al Green’s ‘Take Me To The River’ and the Talking Head’s classic ‘Crosseyed & Painless’.

This Blu-Ray transfer is a great improvement on my DVD with detail so sharp that you can see every bead of sweat flying through the air.  The extras are beefed up too with bonus songs, storyboards and interviews (See below).  The audio is also fantastic, featuring two different DTS-HD Master 5.1 mixes and a fascinating commentary to choose from.  This release seriously challenges ‘Queen Rock Montreal’ as the best music Blu-Ray I own.

You can watch a low quality video of the concert via YouTube here:

Check out this ‘David Byrne interviewing David Byrne’ clip featured on the Bu-Ray:


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