A24 presents a 4K restoration to mark the 40th anniversary of Talking Heads' iconic concert film with Stop Making Sense: 2023 Remaster. At the peak of their career, in support of their 1983 album “Speaking in Tongues,” the core members of Talking Heads, David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison, are joined by guest musicians Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steve Scales, Lynn Mabry and Edna Holt for an epic performance shot over three nights course of three nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theater in December of 1983. The end result is considered by many to be the greatest concert film of all time.
Stop Making Sense: 2023 Remaster Synopsis
To mark the 40th anniversary of Jonathan Demme's iconic concert film, A24 has picked up distribution rights for Stop Making Sense and commissioned a new 4K remaster of the film. What helps Stop Making Sense stand apart from other iconic concert films such as Gimme Shelter and The Last Waltz is how the film completely lets Talking Heads' music speak for itself, with no additional documentary footage. The performance is a literal slow build, beginning with David Byrne playing a solo acoustic rendition of the song “Psycho Killer,” steadily adding band members before the very high-energy double whammy of “Burning Down the House” and “Life During Wartime.” Then is the iconic crescendo of the film, where David Byrne comes out in an oversized suit, inspired by Japanese Noh theatre.
My Thoughts on Stop Making Sense: 2023 Remaster
While it may sound like hyperbole to call Stop Making Sense the greatest concert film of all time, having now seen the film four times, I can attest to how high quality the performance is. Talking Heads were at the peak of their popularity in 1983 and while they would stay together as a band until 1991, Stop Making Sense marked the end of their time as a touring act.
Stop Making Sense is very much a performance divided into three distinct acts. The first act involves the stage progressively being built, as band members come onto the stage one by one. The second act plays a lot with lighting and shadows, which includes a performance of “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” featuring David Byrne dancing with a lamp. Then following an interstitial performance of side-project Tom Tom Club's “Genius of Love,” David Byrne comes out in his big suit for the three-song finale of “Girlfriend is Better,” “Take Me to the River,” and “Crosseyed and Painless.”
Probably the most notable element I took away from the 4K restoration is the new sound mix, which really makes it sound like you are right there in the audience. Combined with the cleaned-up visuals, A24 has helped to make the greatest concert film of all time all the more better. As such, if you have not yet had a chance to see Stop Making Sense, now is the time to do so.