From the start of the film to the end, David Byrne’s American Utopia is a monumental and uplifting performance that many fans will cherish for ages. The film is set in concert-mode and it continues throughout its hour and forty-five-minute running time. The stage setup, the camera angles, and the cinematography combine for pure astonishment that will blow viewers away. The songs of Byrne are ones that will elicit deep joy from fans. I felt positive vibes throughout the film which endured even once it ended.
There is not a plot, but there is an objective throughout the concert/movie. Specifically, the objective is to deliver zeal to viewers through the eyes, the words, and the music of David Byrne. Byrne creates many compelling connections and brings them to life through diverse choreography that make his American Utopia performance extremely unique and genuine. Many from around the world will feel touched by the credit Byrne gives to each of his performers in the concert/movie. Giving credit is only one way that Byrne touches the hearts of his fans in his American Utopia performance. He also credits much of his music back to The Talking Heads, the group that Byrne was the master and creator of which sadly that came to an end in 1990. Byrne has still got it…with the voice, the dancing, and the brilliant mind for music that explains and celebrates life.
What especially spoke to me throughout the film’s concert performance was how during the transitions between songs, Byrne speaks to his fans about life and challenges. He has a wonderful way of tying his commentary to the upcoming songs on his setlist. Director Spike Lee (who is brilliant for catching and repeating angles in his films) directs the concert in a narrative tone. With classic songs ranging from Slippery People to This Must Be the Place to Burnin’Down the House, I felt like I was transported to a universe of a bright mindset. Byrne’s connections to life and reality created through his songs had me longing for more. It is abundantly clear that Byrne is a true influencer of life-changing music.
I saw David Byrne back in 2018 at the Auditorium Theatre of Chicago when he was touring with American Utopia. That was an amazing concert, but at a much different venue. The Hudson Theatre of New York featured in the film made the experience much more intimate and joyful. Especially in these uncharted times, David Byrne’s American Utopia is the concert film that audiences need and will love right now. I loved Byrne’s words both in and between his music, and I loved the audacity of Lee’s directing which made this a visual concert experience like no other. Four stars.