David Byrne brought his modified, “Unchained” version of the American Utopia Broadway show to St. James Theatre in New York City on Tuesday night for the first of six showings. Byrne announced the temporary American Utopia: Unchained performances on Monday after several members of the company, band, and crew tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite the stripped-down format and skeleton crew, Byrne and his company delivered a full, 17-song set and encore. Byrne slotted in new additions to the American Utopia setlist, including some from his collaborations with Brian Eno, and, of course, a variety of cuts from Talking Heads‘ catalog.

Of note, Byrne performed “The Revolution” for the first time since 2006 (per setlist.fm), as well as “My Big Nurse” and “Life Is Long” from him and Eno’s 2008 album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. While American Utopia has seen Talking Heads tracks like “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” and “Slippery People” before, the tellings took on new life with modified and refined arrangements. Check out this clip of “Road to Nowhere” below.

Other notable offerings from the evening included takes on “Heaven”, “(Nothing but) Flowers”, and this rendition of “Life During Wartime”, which marked its first performance since 2017 (per setlist.fm).


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American Utopia will return to St. James Theatre tonight, December 29th, before additional showings on the 30th, January 1st, and 2nd. Check out a setlist of last night’s performance below and head here for tickets and more information on future showings.