David Byrne ‘Unplugs’ Broadway Show ‘American Utopia’

In a series of Instagram posts, David Byrne introduced a revised version of his hit Broadway show American Utopia, one he calls “Unplugged and Unchained,” before performing the first “new” show on Dec. 28.

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Byrne presented the more stripped-down version of American Utopia after several members of his performing band contracted breakthrough COVID.

“Most nights I’m on this stage performing ‘American Utopia,’” said Byrne in his video message before the start of the new shows. “However, several members of our company, band, and crew who are fully vaccinated have tested positive for COVID. Fortunately, these band members and crew don’t have severe symptoms and they’ll be home isolated according to CDC guidelines and we hope that they’ll be back with us in a few weeks.”

Continuing on Instagram, Byrne added that he would like to honor their commitment to ticket holders and described the “new” American Utopia as temporary and something unlike what they’ve done before with the show.

“Rather than canceling our shows, we’re looking at this as an opportunity to honor our commitment to the audiences who are coming in the coming weeks and create something special,” added Byrne. “We’re going to do a show that… well, we’re just going to come up with the show.” 

A second Instagram post by Byrne revealed a sneak peek of one song, “And She Was,” from the updated setlist. The new show, which Byrne calls is “Unplugged or Unchained” will play a short run of five dates ended Jan. 2 and include songs from Byrne’s Talking Heads era, his solo material, and American Utopia tracks.

“This is our opportunity to make lemonade from COVID lemons,” said Byrne. “It’s going to be something unlike anything we’ve done before. It’s not quite the show but it’s something special.”

Byrne added, “I’m excited about it. It shows that we can adapt and persevere.”

Photo: Jody Rogac

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Influential rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix in action at the Isle of Wight festival, August 1970.

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