Artist: David Byrne
Title: Live From Austin, TX, November 28, 2001
Genre: Rock
Release Date: 2017
Duration: 01:02:43
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: New West Records

Since 2007, New West Records has curated the finest collection of recordings available from the Austin City Limits television program, on DVD, CD, and vinyl. These recordings, culled from hundreds of performances from the 1970s to the 2000s, represent one of the greatest treasures in American music.

This show, captured on November 28, 2001, came on the heels of his hit single, “Like Humans Do” and the release of the album Look Into The Eyeball, which was another typically eclectic musical stew reflecting a variety of styles and influences, from Philly soul to a D.C. Go-Go inspired groove and his first-ever Spanish composition, “Desconocido Soy.” Critics at the time called it his best work in years, and his performance on the Austin City Limits stage shows why. Joined by Austin’s own eclectic tango ensemble Tosca, Byrne takes us down many different musical roads in his ACL debut.

David Byrne is a man of many musical faces, but he’s also a show biz pro, and while he’s followed a number of musical paths over the course of his solo career, in concert he’s shrewd enough to know he needs to give his audience (or at least a large portion of them) what they came to see — namely, the songs he helped write while he was in Talking Heads. On Live from Austin, Texas, an album drawn from a set Byrne played on the PBS music series Austin City Limits in the fall of 2001, demonstrates how he can have his cake and eat it too — while five of the thirteen tunes here come from his tenure with Talking Heads (and one is drawn from The Catherine Wheel, a solo project recorded while he was still with the band), he’s reconfigured them to lean towards his fascination with world music while still holding on to the melodic structures folks remember him for. Roughly half the songs on Live from Austin, Texas also feature a string section including members of Tosca String Quartet, who add a fresh set of tonal colors to “This Must Be the Place (Nave Melody)” and “Life During Wartime,” though the ensemble really gets their chance to shine on “The Revolution” (from Look into the Eyeball, the album Byrne was promoting at the time). While he sounds a shade more enthusiastic on his more recent solo material than the relative oldies in this set, overall he seems to be in a slightly subdued mood, though he rallies for his finale, a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” that’s far more sincere (and effective) than you’d imagine. In all, Live from Austin, Texas isn’t the crackling live showcase you might hope for from David Byrne, though he never sounds less than professional and his head is always in the game even if his heart may be somewhere else.


  1. (Nothing But) Flowers – 4:52
  2. God’s Child – 4:36
  3. And She Was – 3:40
  4. Once In A Lifetime – 7:14
  5. The Great Intoxication – 4:11
  6. Marching Through The Wilderness – 4:20
  7. The Revolution – 2:24
  8. This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) – 5:51
  9. What A Day That Was – 6:52
  10. Desconocido Soy – 2:57
  11. Like Humans Do – 4:16
  12. Life During Wartime – 6:31
  13. I Wanna Dance With Somebody – 5:08