Tuesday, June 9, 2009

David Byrne at Prospect Park

It appears that every 25 to 40-something newbie Brooklynite involved in the last 15 years of gentrification showed up for the David Byrne concert at Prospect Park Monday night to open the Celebrate Brooklyn festival at the band shell. I've been going to these events since they started and this was the largest crowd I've ever see at the bandshell, even bigger than the turnout for Dylan last year. Being that it was a weekday night and there were more people out in the park than inside the enclosure I attribute the enormous turnout to the economic conditions ie: everyone in Brooklyn is out of a job. The show was outstanding. Byrne can be infuriatingly fey but he rose to the occasion at this event and performed with serious passion. The most interesting aspect of the whole thing from my perspective was how the young crowd related to songs from three decades ago as if they were contemporary observations. "Once In a Lifetime" and "Life During Wartime" were written as social barbs taking on American mores during the Reagan administration, but both songs could have been written yesterday and the crowd took them to heart as contemporary works, not nostalgia:
"You may ask yourself
Where is my beautiful house?"
Well, for a lot of these folks, it's underwater, which is where Byrne was when he made the video of the song back in the early days of MTV. Prophecy, thy name is Byrne.

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