Talking Heads Chronology

Talking HeadsChronology
It's worth noting that Talking Heads are the band behind Stop Making Sense, generally considered to be the greatest concert film of all time. So any collection of live performances from the band is going to have an incredibly steep hill to climb. Perhaps then it's better to view this hodgepodge of performances as a prequel to that famed film, chronologically charting the quartet's evolution from wiry art-school punks to funky global rock stars before retiring from the road all together. The stiff CBGB performance from 1975 barely hints at the live force they would become, but helps to put in perspective just how out of place Talking Heads were. By the time they hit American Bandstand with their cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River," it was clear the group had found their groove. The DVD ends with a performance of "Burning Down the House" on Late Night with David Letterman, displaying many of the theatrical elements that the group would exploit with Stop Making Sense director Jonathan Demme. It ends, fittingly, with a performance of "Life During Wartime," from the band's 2002 Rock 'n' Roll Induction Ceremony. The deluxe edition of the DVD comes beautifully packaged like a hardcover book and includes a lengthy, unedited essay Lester Bangs wrote as a review of Fear of Music for The Village Voice in August of 1979. Bonus features include a great 35-minute doc from 1979 that finds the band discussing their history and music up to that point. Also included is a 1978 interview with David Byrne and audio commentary from all four band members. While some might argue with the selection of tracks included (many of the band's later hits are missing, while rarities like "Love→Building On Fire" make a welcome appearance), this collection is essential to understanding the live evolution of one of music's most interesting and challenging groups. (Eagle Vision)