Review of Talking Heads’ documentary, ‘Chronology’

Talking Heads
“Chronology”
Eagle Vision
*****

By Pat Prince

Sire Records’ Seymour Stein explains hearing Talking Heads for the first time as he enters New York City’s legendary CBGB nightclub in December 1975, and at the moment you are watching archival DVD footage of the Talking Heads performing the exact song that he had heard, “Psycho Killer.”

Talking Heads ChronologyYou can imagine Stein walking into the club hearing it. He’s there to see The Ramones, but he discovers a new band he describes as riveting. This is a wonderful documentary experience for the viewer of “Chronology” and is exactly what a DVD that chronicles a band’s performances throughout its career is supposed to do: present history and make you feel as if you are there. This may be the most spectacular moment on “Chronology,” but the rest of the historical live footage is certainly as ‘riveting.’

Another performance to mention is the footage of “I’m Not In Love” on that same night at CBGB. It is a great snippet of the beginnings of the Talking Heads sound in all its punk looseness, garage-rock drive and art-house eccentricity. And then you get to compare the band playing in front of a relatively reserved audience at New York City’s The Kitchen in 1976 to the pure buzz excitement of a crowd at New York City’s Entermedia Theater two years later, where one excited fan exclaims that the Talking Heads are “the idea of New Wave. They represent it.” Another fan is extremely upset that he could not find the Heads’ new album in all of New York City the day before the show. This is life-and-death stuff to him.

This is a DVD overflowing with quality live footage and intelligent interviews with one of rock music’s most renowned bands. By the time you get to the Talking Heads performance at the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2002, you will be a believer (even if you weren’t before) that this band is worthy of the hallowed Rock Hall.

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