Wednesday, Sunday, Monday: “Stop Making Sense”

Aug. 16, 20-22

A couple years ago I ran into Steve Scales outside Chip’s restaurant in Orange, Connecticut. Everyone in line for brunch that Sunday seemed to know the Talking Heads (and Tom Tom Club, among many others) percussionist, and he’s just a super nice guy in person. So I asked him about David Byrne and he got kind of quiet. “I was never in the Talking Heads,” he said amiably. “I was in the Tom Tom Club.” The Talking Heads had a rocky run in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. They broke up; other members released an album, Byrne sued. They reunited in 2002 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, though, and Scales was there, along with Bernie Worrell, the keyboard master and Parliament/Funkadelic co-founder. You can see both these men (alas, Worrell died last year) in their glorious prime (plus Adrian Belew!) in “Stop Making Sense,” arguably the best concert film ever produced. Director Jonathan Demme shot the band over a three-night stand at the Pantages in December of 1983, as the Talking Heads had developed their peak power, like a Cat-5 hurricane churning off Bermuda. Byrne, just a decade out of MICA and Baltimore’s weird musical underworld, is in his theatrical apogee here in the famous “Big Suit,” building the show one element at a time as Tina Weymouth (still relatively new to her bass guitar), Jerry Harrison, and Chris Franz each arrive in-turn and spill themselves all over the stage. The Senator, 5904 York Road, (410) 323-4424, thesenatortheatre.com, $10. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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