Video: Talking Heads concerts in Germany and Italy

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Talking Heads in Dortmund, Germany (1980), 49 min

Talking Heads in Rome, italy (1980)

Back in 2012, we featured a 1975 Talking Heads concert at CBGB, referencing Generation X author Douglas Coupland’s telling definition of who, exactly, constitutes that cohort: “If you liked the Talking Heads back in the day, then you’re probably X.” Simultaneously ironic and sincere, artistic and commercial, ramshackle and polished, cerebral and impulsive: the sensibilities of David Byrne’s influential new-wave band and the zeitgeist profile of Generation X share too many qualities to list. 1975, for a Gen Xer, would certainly count as “back in the day,” though perhaps a bit too far back in the day for many of them to have gained entrance to such a vibrantly scuzzy venue as CBGB. Just five years later, though, many more of them would have come of just enough age to engage with the Heads, who by that point had blown up in popularity, playing huge venues all over the world.

You may have seen the band playing Rome in 1980 when we posted that show in 2012, and today we give you another of their European gigs from that same breakout year, in Dortmund. That location, about 250 miles from Coupland’s Canadian Air Force base birthplace in Germany, in a Germany still divided, brings to mind not just the importance of themes of the late Cold War to the novelist’s work, but to Generation X itself, the last kids to grow up under the credible threat of sudden nuclear annihilation. Such an uneasy psychological and ideological environment would have an effect on the formation of anyone’s creative mind, as it must also have on that of Generation X’s predecessors, the Baby Boomers — a group in which the 1952-born Byrne falls right in the middle. The Cold War may have ended, but the Talking Heads’ music, as you’ll experience in this Dortmund concert, transcends both temporal and geographical context.

Set list:

  1. “Psycho Killer”
  2. “Cities”
  3. “Zimbra”
  4. “Once in a Lifetime”
  5. “Animals”
  6. “Crosseyed and Painless”
  7. “Life During Wartime”
  8. “The Great Curve”
demandside's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


Very cool. Interesting take on how the wisdom of one generation can influence the next. Of course compartmentalizing generations as distinctly 19 year increments starting at discrete times is not as realistic as a continuum of overlapping 19 year increments. I've always been fascinated by the Beat "generation" bleeding into the Hippie "generation" a la Dylan and the Dead or the Hippies leading into Punk/NewWave to stick with a strictly musical metaphor. And the beat goes on and on and on..... I suppose an economic metaphor could be similarly applied as that book Thom refers to "The Fourth Turning" which alludes to a never ending cyclical repetition. Perhaps music is really just an endless cyclical loop as well?

Laborisgood's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Are you saying it's the Same as it ever was?

douglaslee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The Talking Heads weren't the only successful group from the era that were combining different musical genres and especially the Afro poly rhythms into the mainstream notice but it could be argued that the teaming up of the Talking Heads and Brian Eno produced some of the most innovative in popular music at the time. Particularly in their studio work:

Eno and Byrne just playing around:

No Doug, I'd argue the song never remains the same :-)

rs allen
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Are We At "Peak" Citizen's United?

Thom plus logo Donald Trump has corrupted pretty much every federal agency, but the one that is most concerning is his corruption of the Department of Justice. Bill Barr, in 1992, ran the cover up of the Iran/Contra treason scandal on behalf of George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan. Now he's running, according to Lev Parnas, multiple coverups for Donald Trump.
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