David Byrne doesn’t do anything by half, and it’s a testament to his restless creativity that his performance of his song “One Fine Day” on the special New York week of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Tuesday featured a performance dramatically different from the one on his stunning ten-week Broadway residency that officially opened on Sunday.
While the “American Utopia” Broadway show features Byrne accompanied by an 11-piece band, this special Kimmel arrangement found him joined by Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco and the 70-odd member Brooklyn Youth Chorus for a drum-and-vocal-only version of “One Fine Day,” which is not from the recent album that shares a name with the Broadway show, from his generally overlooked 2008 album with Brian Eno, “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.” While the version in “American Utopia” is the uplifting cap on the performance, if anything this version was even more inspired, with the choir filling out the song’s melody gloriously. As the song opens, it follows Byrne from backstage — past a sign that reads, “Don’t worry, David Byrne” — and up to the microphone, where he delivers the the song.
And as different as this version was from the one in “American Utopia,” a couple of hours later Byrne would be onstage at the Hudson Theater in Manhattan, performing the entire 100-minute show, as he will be, six nights a week, until mid-January. At 67, Byrne’s energy and focus remain undimmed.