David Byrne has no shortage of fans young enough to be his kids. Since the Talking Heads broke up -- when these young throngs were still in grade school -- the former frontman has experimented with all manner of world music, bringing his celebrity and musical Spidey-sense to every endeavor. And as if that weren't enough, he's now lending his notoriety to an Olympic-sized swimming pool of high-profile good causes: MoveOn.org's Future Soundtrack for America CD; a benefit for Creative Commons (an intellectual-property group obscure except to nerds, who think it's God); and a concert for a Brooklyn tutoring center with Dave Eggers ties. He's even inked good-luck wishes for a Manhattan cappuccino joint on a cardboard box, now proudly displayed for Gotham coffee drinkers.
What's that? Oh, right, the music.
You might assume that all this activism is meant to distract from Byrne's dwindling musical might. But this year's Grown Backwards surprised the skeptics once again -- and the tour at hand, which brings us Byrne backed by the Tosca Strings, a chamber pop sextet, is set up to straddle genres, continents and decades with unreasonable ease. For David Byrne at 52, it's same as it ever was.
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