Stop Making Sense
Seattle has a neighbourhood called Capitol Hill, and in that neighbourhood they have a movie theatre called The Egyptian. For many years, The Egyptian would play midnight showings of cult classics old and new. I saw Trainspotting and Lost in Translation, and it’d be where you’d see Kubrick films or old silent movies too. Most weeks I was tempted by what was showing, so I just had to figure out what was worth staying out until 2 or 3.
And that’s how we found ourselves shivering outside The Egyptian at 11:30pm on a Saturday night to see Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads concert film. I didn’t know much about it going in, but I did know all the standard Talking Heads songs, plus some extras. I hoped I’d know enough to enjoy the show even if I didn’t necessarily know every song.
Even though we were watching the concert 30 years later, projected on a giant wall with no live performers in sight, it felt live. It didn’t matter that we were all sitting in old red plush movie theatre chairs with popcorn on our laps, and it didn’t matter that Seattle audiences are famously chilly. On that night, we didn’t try to be too cool to love something without reservation. We fell in.
It started with some awkward toe tapping and some furtive swaying, but somehow the spirit of the show grabbed us. At one point I looked around and behind me, my eyes shouting “can you believe this?” and just saw a room of my fellow music lovers, their faces lit up by the screen, eyes wide in wonder, with big dumb smiles plastered on their faces. It was one of the most life affirming experiences I’ve ever had in a crowd. I‘ve still never experienced anything like it to this day.
The concert is on YouTube and posted below. If you don’t know much about the show, I recommend going in without doing research. And if you can help it, maybe get it out of a little browser tab. This show deserves a full screen — the biggest in your place! — and your undivided attention. I hope you’re rewarded like I was.