How Talking Heads reinvented the concert film (with Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz)

Switched on Pop

17-10-2023 • 50 mins

Talking Head's concert film Stop Making Sense first came out forty years ago, and it’s just been rereleased in theaters in a 4k remaster by A24. The film finds the band — Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, David Byrne and Jerry Harrison — at the height of their powers over three successive nights at the the Hollywood Pantages Theater. As Chris and Tina remembered it when they spoke to producer Reanna Cruz, "We'd reached a state in our career and our lives when we felt, 'we've gotten pretty good at this now. We can show the world.'" Director Jonathan Demme spliced the band's performances into an eighty-eight minute odyssey beginning with Byrne solo on the stage and gradually bringing in the rest of the band and a cast of stellar guest musicians: vocalists Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, percussionist Steve Scales, and guitarist Alex Weir. The film introduced landmark moments like Byrne’s big suit, Demme’s cinematic approach to concert cinematography, Chris's and Tina’s Tom Tom Club performing the perennial sample flip "Genius of Love," and a theater-rocking version of "Burning Down the House." Stop Making Sense broke the mold of concert films and created a new paradigm for artists to follow ever since. Nate, Charlie, and Reanna take insights from Reanna's conversation with Tina and Chris on the legacy of Stop Making Sense as a guide to think through our own favorite concert movies — the Band's The Last Waltz, Madonna's Truth or Dare, and Beyonce's Homecoming — to identify the musical and visual choices that make them so indelible. Songs Discussed Talking Heads - This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) - Live Talking Heads - Burning Down the House - Live Beyoncé - Diva - Homecoming Live Beyoncé - Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Homecoming Live Madonna - Express Yourself Madonna - Live to Tell The Band - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - Live The Band - I Shall Be Released (Finale) - Live Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices