By Steve Hochman
Note to David Byrne and Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent:
As you kicked off a new phase of your tour behind the bracing 2012 collaborative album Love This Giant on Wednesday at the lovely, Art Deco-era Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, N.J., a quibbling thought occurred. You’ve got that great band, built around an eight-piece brass section — make that brass section/dance troupe, with the amusingly effective and effectively amusing choreography you’ve given them. You all got to know each other and feel out the range of talents you collectively embrace on last year’s introductory tour.
So why not, for an encore at least, let the brass really blast, really let loose for a version of, oh, Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar?” The song’s snap-back beat would be a great extension of the rhythmic invention you displayed all night, the same way Clark’s effects-filtered guitar leads at times expanded on and contrasted the brass sounds. And a little evanescent duetting, Gaye and Tammi Terrell-style, between the two of you would make the perfect complement to the winningly arty manners of the concert. Something along those lines could even moreso tie together a set drawn mainly from the album, in addition to such St. Vincent solo gems as the colorfully defiant “Cheerleader” and, of course, several keystones from Byrne’s Talking Heads and solo catalog.
Again, that’s just a quibble, just a little thought. There was nothing lacking from the show, per se. It’s a fully conceived, fully realized combination of two distinctive, idiosyncratic (in the best way) talents. The choreography, the players flowing around the stage or doing slo-mo dosey-does, was just part of it, as was the black-and-white color scheme (the silver front panel of Clark’s skirt and the now-platinum blond hue of her hair, not quite matching Byrne’s near-white cropped coif, the only slight exceptions). Continue reading