Art Rock

Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew Perform Remain in Light with Cool Cool Cool at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO on 02/17/23

Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew

Talking Heads created innovative music. Nothing has sounded like them before or since. One of their strangest (some might declare best) albums is Remain in Light. It was produced by Brian Eno who helped make some of the most interesting sounding records in the past fifty-years with Devo, U2, and David Bowie. Music legends Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew teamed up with Cool Cool Cool (a seven-member funk band) to perform the 1980 Talking Heads album as a concert. The two musicians played on the classic record (Harrison as a member of Talking Heads and Belew as a session musician). It’s an ideal album to perform live because of its driving African rhythm and group vocals. Other Talking Head songs were performed because there are no rules in Rock and Roll.

The older Boulder Theater crowd were excited to see (some form) of the band that they fell in love with in concert. An audience member even wore the first names of all the members of Talking Heads on her shirt.

Adrian Belew is an accomplished guitar player who has played with Frank Zappa, Nine Inch Nails, and King Crimson (I saw him in 1990 performing with David Bowie during the Sound and Vision Tour). Belew sang a few Talking Heads songs (Take Me to the River being a stand out) as well as a King Crimson’s Thela Hun Ginjeet . With a big smile on his face, it would be safe to say that Belew was the happiest one on the stage.

Jerry Harrison was a member of The Modern Lovers (with Jonathan Richman) and Talking Heads. He also produced albums for the The BoDeans, The Violent Femmes, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and No Doubt (to name only a few). Besides switching from the guitar to the keyboards, Harrison sang lead vocals for Psycho Killer, and his own solo tune Rev It Up.

The backing band Cool Cool Cool also took over lead vocal duties. Singers and dancers Shira Elias and Sammy Garett did an amazing job on Slippery People. They also danced throughout the night while singing backing vocals. It wasn’t an easy job since some Talking Heads’ lyrics are gibberish (their famous concert film is called Stop Making Sense for a reason). The two singers had their smart phones out all night trying to follow along to the lyrics. Josh Schwartz put down his saxophone to sing a few songs as well. His vocal style and hand gestures for Once in a Lifetime were comparable to David Byrne (the original lead singer of the Talking Heads). Before ending the show with The Great Curve, Belew thanked the Talking Heads and Brian Eno. Elias and Garett swung around while Belew sang, “The world moves on a woman’s hips.”

Before backing up Harrison and Belew, Cool Cool Cool started the night off with an energetic set. The jam songs NAH, Gotta Give It Away, and Tied Up got the crowd energized. Vocal duties were split between Josh Schwarz, Shira Elias, and Sammy Garett. Elias and Garett sang a duet for Don’t Do It showing off their astounding vocals ranges.

Josh Schwartz, Shira Elias, and Sammi Garett

The seven-piece funk band ended with Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. The song choice might be a reflected of how the band just recently departed their long-term gig with Turkuaz (another funk band) and reformed into Cool Cool Cool.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one looking up the lyrics on my phone.

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