David Byrne Revisits Talking Heads Classic on “Saturday Night Live”

An electrifying performance from a musical icon

David Byrne on "SNL"
David Byrne and band on "Saturday Night Live."
NBC Universal
By Tobias Carroll / March 1, 2020 2:18 pm

If you’d been intrigued by David Byrne’s acclaimed American Utopia but hadn’t been able to get tickets, Byrne and his band brought a distillation of that show’s energy to Saturday Night Live last night, where they performed the Talking Heads classic “Once in a Lifetime,” as well as “Toe Jam,” which initially appeared on Brighton Port Authority’s 2009 debut album.

American Utopia has drawn rave reviews and thoughtful commentary during its Broadway run. Writing at Pitchfork, Stacey Anderson explored the themes and imagery of the show:

By the time Utopia ends, Byrne has built a place of commonality and solace, where open-hearted possibility bests the precedent of history.

Reports on American Utopia also suggest that a director as visually inventive as Spike Lee could do some fantastic things with the upcoming concert film of the show he’s slated to direct.

Byrne and several members of his band also appeared in the sketch “Airport Sushi,” performing a short version of Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere.” For those viewers who were particularly taken by Byrne and band’s performance, American Utopia is set to return to Broadway on September 18.

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