Some Random Thoughts While Watching Talk Talk: Live at Montreux 1986 on Netflix

Mark Hollis’ sunglasses have more stage presence than he does.
Talk Talk: Live at Montreux 1986

Talk Talk’s concert film, Live at Montreux 1986, recently started streaming on Netflix. And despite discovering this fact after midnight last night, I, of course, had to watch the whole thing. I’d heard bits and pieces of the concert before, and seen some random clips on YouTube, but this was my first time experiencing the entire thing. Here are some random things that came to mind while doing so.

  • Mark Hollis may be one of the most uncharismatic frontmen in the history of rock n’ roll. His sunglasses have more stage presence than he does.
  • This, of course, doesn’t matter, because dude can sing.
  • The performance is so obviously from the ’80s, and painfully so, from the Keith Haring artwork on the stage to the band’s fashion sense to guitarist John Turnbull’s glorious mullet. If you were to just see a picture of the band on-stage, especially one featuring Lee Harris in his shirtless majesty, you’d probably conclude that they were the uncoolest band ever. Which really just makes them that much cooler — and reveals how ignorant you are.
  • My favorite thing about the entire performance may be that Turnbull appears to be wearing a fanny pack.
  • You could argue that someone raising a lighter during a Talk Talk show is evidence that you’re watching an artifact from a kinder, gentler, and less cynical time. Today, that person would be shunned to within an inch of their life.
  • The piano intro to “Tomorrow Started” is jaw-droppingly, heart-achingly beautiful.
  • My favorite Talk Talk song is, without a doubt, “New Grass.” A close second is probably their epic Montreux performance of “Such A Shame,” which I’ve embedded below.

Related: DVD Talk’s review of the Talk Talk: Live at Montreux 1986 DVD