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David Byrne and Miley Cyrus perform “Let’s Dance”

I had thoughts of saving this for almost a full year and posting it on December 31, 2023 for next New Year’s Eve. But it’s too good to hold back. This was this past New Years’ Eve performance of “Let’s Dance” by David Byrne and Miley Cyrus. I think this was for the New York City-based ball drop event, and, see for yourself, it is very well done.

I’m not especially familiar with the music of Miley Cyrus. I know who she is and I have an idea about her image, and I think I’ve heard a couple of her songs, but I’m not really her audience. That said, I like her performance here. She has a good voice, she’s fun to watch, and she seems really, really into singing this song. So, great.

I AM a big fan of David Byrne. The last Broadway show I saw before the pandemic, which might be the last Broadway show I ever see, was Byrne’s “American Utopia.” We had front-row seats. The show is more a concert than a play, and features a mix of well-known Talking Heads songs and new songs, which is the way to do it. David Byrne still sounds like David Byrne. He looks older, because he’s older, and he gives a little more of a hint that he’s in on his own joke than he did forty years ago, but I couldn’t have been happier with that performance.

I get the impression that Byrne, not unlike Bowie, has become a presence within New York City. He has his show, but I’ve read and heard that he has a presence in civic affairs as well, and has often been seen riding his bike around Manhattan. A man after my own heart. This New Year’s Eve show is almost a civic affair, so I think this is another example of him saying, “Hey, I’m a New Yorker. Here I am contributing to the cultural fabric of the community.” Terrific!

I don’t know if Byrne and Cyrus are working on anything together. They are an odd looking couple up on stage. Their voices both sound fine and they do the song well as a duet, but beyond that they don’t seem to have any particular chemistry. I think of Bowie and Annie Lennox performing “Under Pressure” at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert— they sounded good together, but Annie Lennox was more expressive and Bowie almost seemed taken aback by her enthusiasm. That’s not quite the dynamic here, but Cyrus has the moves and, well, Byrne never really did have the moves but that’s OK.

Well, however this came together, I’m happy it did. I kind of think this performance will be remembered, come up again and, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets released as a single. Maybe I’m just too excited about it, but hey, Happy New Year!

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