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David Byrne - Live at Union Chapel
David Byrne - Live at Union Chapel
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2004     1hr 27min

Recorded live in Live at Union Chapel captures David Byrne at his most irreverent. Performing 18 songs spanning four decades, Byrne effortlessly weaves lyrically potent compositions and compelling arrangements to create an...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll
Studio: Rhino / Wea
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 10/26/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Japanese, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French

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Movie Reviews

Burning Down the Chapel
o dubhthaigh | north rustico, pei, canada | 12/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"David Byrne is amazing and this DVD is every bit as nuanced and inventive and humourous and fun as STOP MAKING SENSE. It hasn't the manic over the top energy of the TH film, but it is just as brilliant a concert. Byrne is in spectacular form and after so many years of wandering about in wherever he was wandering about, this tour presents him with his vision fully formed and heading in exciting directions.
The instrumentation is more stripped down than in SMS, but old chestnuts from his previous life as well as new songs from his most recent disc are each delivered with passion and commitment. This must have been an extraordinary experience. Even on DVD, it is hard to resist the urge to dance hurky-jerky with the Pinnochio of Rock. His limbs are as limber as ever and his oddness has all the same endearing elements to it as he has ever had, and now with the years registered in his grey hair and his wisdom infused with time, his observations pack a poignancy you don't get from many another.
I really can't pick out a highlight. Maybe "Naive Melody", which carries all the same emotional honesty now as it ever has. In so many ways, he is "the same as he ever was," only with the grace of time deepening his shadow. Union Chapel looks terrific in the film. The setting is beyond perfect for Byrne. Production quality is of the highest calibre. You would expect nothing less from him. From "Nothing But Flowers" through to the encore, this is a categorcial triumph as a film, as music, as an emotional sojourn. Great stuff. Hope you pick this up and enjoy it."
Will Someone Please Pull the #%* Camera Back?!!!
Glenn R. Ellison | Pembroke Pines, Florida United States | 09/10/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"First of all I want to make clear that I think the music in this DVD is absotlutely fantastic. Inventive string arrangements have taken the place of keyboards and it works. I also enjoyed the comments DB makes in between some of the songs.

Having gotten that out of the way: It is obvious that if the director watched the outstanding Talking Heads' concert film "Stop Making Sense," then, she obviously learned nothing. She has fallen prey to the MTV generation, short attention span, claustrophobic type cinematography that can best be described as Cinema For Those With Attention Deficit Disorder. Had the director learned anything from SMS, she would have realized that what made that concert film so great was that the director didn't call attention to the camera techniques being applied. She also would've learned to give us shots with at least two people in them for at least, oh say, ten seconds. Instead we get shots from DB's waist up or from his chin to his forehead. The few times that we are treated to a shot of the whole stage the camera has to zoom in. I guess the director knows what we want to see better than we do. Unfortunately for us, she doesn't realize that half the fun of watching DB is, well, getting to watch all of DB; NOT JUST HIS FREAKIN' HEAD!!!"
Science is Fun
Tiffany N. Allmandinger | Santa Barbara, Ca | 10/26/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"As far as I'm concerned, David Byrne is one of the most creative, multi-talented musicians alive today. He is, without a doubt, a genius. I was lucky enough to see him perform on his Backwards Life tour, and hands down, it was the most incredible, energetic, and beautiful performance I've ever seen. The audience was alive, Mr. Byrne and the band were fired up and virtually steam rolling us with energy - amazing (I hopped and danced so much my legs were cramping the next day on my bike ride). I pre-ordered the DVD and couldn't wait to watch it. The venue is dramatic and gorgeous; a stained glass rich chapel with ornate wood structures, but the audience is dead, like zombies, or white neo-conservatives watching a movie about how to build a bomb shelter in their backyards. The lack of energy seems to affect Mr. Byrne and the band, particularly Mauro, who in my recollection was a breath taking flurry of intricate rhythm and complex variance. The entire performance appears to be dampened by the complacency of the crowd. Even 'U.B. Jesus', which had me dancing in my living room, couldn't get them off their feet. His music, as always, is impeccable. However it seems that a livelier venue would have helped better convey the power and magnitude of Mr.Byrne's talent and passion to those who missed his live performance."
Worthwhile but... why the Union Chapel?
spiral_mind | Pennsylvania | 06/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'd say it was a mostly-seized opportunity. Overall this film is a good idea and a live DB release of any kind was long overdue. His music is accessible and invigorating as ever, expertly firing brain cells and making hips sway all at the same time. If this had been filmed in a club or theater conducive to the upbeat quirky-pop atmosphere of a Byrne show, there'd be no question about the full five stars. Alas though, it's in Islington's Union Chapel and the whole stained-glass-and-stone vibe really doesn't fit.

Don't get me wrong; it's a gorgeous place and the architecture makes for some wonderful visuals (perfect for the operatic "Un di Felice" if nothing else), but the somber atmosphere can't quite be shaken. The audience sits stone-still through the first two peppy numbers until David shyly tells them it's ok to dance.. but even once they start bouncing and bobbing, things stay a tad too subdued. Worse yet, the bridge & last verse of "Once in a Lifetime" are cut out. I *hope* that's just a glitch on my copy, otherwise it's one of the clumsiest editing jobs I've ever heard (not to mention a hanging offense).

Despite my complaints though, there's still a whole lot to recommend here. The set selection is superb. The band (bass/drums/percussion and the six-piece Tosca Strings) gives a beautiful reinvented feel to the material, and of course the songs themselves are excellent. The quiet slow parts are peppered in just the right places, and the rest is as upbeat & catchy as you could hope for. There's even a priceless addition to the 'Great Covers Of Songs I Used To Hate' file - if anyone could make a Whitney Houston tune not only listenable but enjoyable, it's David Byrne.

Obviously this is a proposition for existing fans, so if those flaws aren't too prohibitive (and they shouldn't be), this DVD will still be well worth your time. Who ever thought we'd see violins & cellos tackle "Life During Wartime"?"