Burning Down the House: Palmer & Byrne

Here is a video in which Amanda Fucking Palmer and David Byrne and a very large, very good band perform "Burning Down the House."

My life is complete.

That is all.

David Byrne & Amanda Palmer - "Burning Down the House"

Updated with better video, courtesy of Martin Borus (Thanks, Michael!)


  1. As a child of the 80s, I thought I’d heard more than enough of this song. But that was a fun performance. It’s always neat to see someone famous fanboiing (fangurling?) out over someone else.

  2. The summer interns sitting next to me just asked me who this was. I said “David Byrne of the Talking Heads”. I’ve never seen such blank looks in my life. God I feel old today. 

    1. Yes. Who IS she? Lots of over-the-top ‘power-singing’ moves though, AND she does a great line in hair-tossing and hand-raising. Musically, flat and rough in many places, I thought. Byrne is cool though.

      1.  Formerly one of The Dresden Dolls, has recorded several albums including “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?”, now solo with the Grand Theft Orchestra, recently raised over a million bucks on Kickstarter for her new album “Theatre is Evil”. Oh, and her husband is Neil Gaiman.

  3. Every time I’ve seen David Byrne he’s closed with Burning Down the House and it’s epic every single time.

        1.  She really can, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard her do other songs in that range easily, so I’d look more towards a fatigue/illness problem, pehaps just a really long set? Even very experienced performers have off days.

        2. Yep, I added a couple of links below, one live and one to a vid to show that she can. The thing is, she’s a true second soprano, with a middle range voice. If Byrne requested that she harmonize high, he may have thrown her a curve ball. At the end of a show it would be hard for her to hit notes. :)

    1. AFP (the girl with the short red hair and bra top singing) has a programmable Yamaha, and she’ll both pre- and live-program loops for shows. She’s the only person who plays that keyboard. The intro to this video probably had her playing some bars of the song but was cut for length. If you watch the beginning closely, you can see her fiddling with it and she turns back to shut it down at the end.

      If you want to hear a couple more examples of her singing/playing: here’s her live covering “Hallelujah” and an original song called “In My Mind” 

  4. I gotta chime in here. Been a big fan of Widespread Panic from Athen Ga since their inception. They do some very good T-Heads covers and are obviously big fans of the T-Heads. On several occasions, “Burning Down the House” was played over the PA after the show, and the crowd responded fanatically. 

  5. I’ve never been a great talking head fan because of the weird singing thing and not hitting notes and stuff (but still have respect for them! They did important things!)
    But dear Amanda F is so excited she makes David Byrne sound really really good by comparison …
    Now I know how my singing sounds when I’m just moderately excited, so I’m not saying I’d get a single note out of my throat in the same situation, just … ahh, if she’d had just a little less adrenaline, just a little, this would have sounded a lot better.

    Also, that thing she’s (not) wearing makes her look … less attractive.

    Anyway, the emotion is real, and that comes across pretty well

    1. Just because you don’t recognize the note doesn’t mean that they didn’t hit it.

    2. Amanda Fucking Palmer does not dress in order to look attractive to you.

      I’ve always gotten a pretty punk-y vibe from AFP in the sense that pretty much nothing she does is done in order to be attractive or appealing, including the music itself (though she certainly can be both)– the core is always about sincerity and energy. It’s definitely different from most of what I listen to, which is more… processed? Enthusiasm is more important than polish. I’ve always felt that was part of the fun.

      But then, I was at this show, so I have my biases.

    1. that’s klaus. amanda commissioned my wife (a designer and corsetier) to make this corset for her tour. i got to work up the image (which was fun as a fan of nomi). 

  6. The show was at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last Wednesday, and AFP rocked the house down.  This was the encore, at the end of a 2-hour long set.  I was there, and honestly the sound quality on this recording is not the best — I guarantee you it sounded one hell of a lot better in person.

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