“One of the greatest rock movies ever made,” notes film critic and film historian, Leonard Maltin, “Stop Making Sense, ” the 1984 American concert film of The Talking Heads by director Jonathan Demme, is coming to Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. The film features a live concert performance, shot over the course of four nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater, as the band was touring and promoting their album “Speaking in Tongues.”
As the theater darkens, David Byrne, lead singer of The Talking Heads, walks onto a bare stage with a portable cassette tape player and acoustic guitar to open the show with a solo performance of “Psycho Killer.” With each successive song, Byrne is joined by more members of the band: first by Tina Weymouth for “Heaven,” second by Chris Frantz for “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel” and third by Jerry Harrison for “Found a Job,” all the while the crew is busy, still setting up. Then, three more musicians; keyboardist Bernie Worrell, percussionist Steve Scales, and guitarist Alex Weir, along with two back-up singers; Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt, join the band. The first song featuring the entire ensemble is the classic “Burning Down the House.” The concert is set before a backdrop that is often black, but sometimes displays words, images, or children's drawings. It is the first film made entirely using digital audio techniques. Everybody sings, plays, harmonizes, dances, and runs. They change instruments and clothes. And, of course, Byrne appears in the famous “big suit,” the absurdly large business suit that became an icon of the film and of Byrne himself.
Winner of the National Society of Film Critics Award for best non-fiction film in 1984, this concert film was widely regarded as one of the finest examples of the genre. No other concert film has captured a band’s energy the way Demme managed to capture The Talking Heads, making you feel as though you were experiencing the moments live onstage, and not just with the audience but with the band. Many have attempted to replicate the feel on film of “Stop Making Sense,” including Demme himself, but none have been able to achieve the perfection that he reached in this his seminal film.
Tickets: $15 adult, $13 Lincoln Theater member, and $5 youth 18 and under are available through the theater box office, 563-3424, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, in person at 2 Theater Street, and will also be available at the door.