David Byrne: Ride Rise Roar (Blu-ray Review)

All good things must come to an end, so here is the final Blu-ray music review brought to you by Why So Blu and Eagle Rock Entertainment.  It is the David Byrne concert documentary entitled Ride, Rise, Roar. Yes, that is the same David Byrne of Talking Heads fame.  His solo performance has been given the royal treatment in this high definition Blu-ray disc.  Featured in Ride, Rise, Roar is an eclectic performance featuring contemporary dancers, Byrne rocking out, and several documentary segments.  To say that Ride, Rise, Roar is anything less than interesting would be a major understatement.  Sit back, or stand, and enjoy our review of David Byrne: Ride Rise Roar on Blu-ray! 


Frontman of Talking Heads fame David Byrne decided to take his solo show on the road with dancers, instrumentalists, and a tutu.  Prior to this Blu-ray release I had very minimal awareness of who or what David Byrne was outside of Talking Heads.  Better yet, I only knew of the Talking Heads single Burning Down the House. Yes, I grew up in the 80’s, but I did not listen to new wave or alternative then.

For this eclectic outing Byrne decided to bring contemporary dancing and choreography to the masses by integrating dance and music.  Literally.  What I mean by that is that as David Byrne is singing and playing guitar he has three dancers busting out these whacky moves all over the place in a kind of controlled and spastic chaos.  At some points during certain songs they actually use him as a prop and vice versa.  It’s a pretty unique visual experience.

At 87 minutes in length I don’t think this should have been called a documentary, because it’s a live show that has bits and pieces of making-of and featurettes that run right after the songs are finished.  I’m not a big fan of that.  Considering that this Blu-ray contains no special features it would have been more appropriate to have those behind the scenes snippets as supplements.  Then again, the set list would have run for about an hour.  I do know that certain songs, for whatever reason, did not make this final cut.  This is according to some fans that actually attended show.  I did not, so I cannot comment further.

Now as for the dancing and dancers involved.  They were pretty cool, but in some cases very distracting.  My girlfriend is a contemporary dancer and I’ve been to her shows and other shows featuring various dancing troupes and I would have much more preferred these dancers to be off to the side or in the background. The choreography itself is okay, but weird.  There isn’t that much finesse to it.  There many times throughout the show where they almost collide with David toppling him over.  I get it’s part of the show, but still, when you think the lead singer is about to get taken out by his own dancers it’s a bit of a head scratcher.  The rehearsal footage is excellent as is his New York music studio that isn’t very tidy.

Ride, Rise, Roar is going to be one of the most unique musical shows that you will experience.  David Byrne is a true artist in that he dabbles in music, fine art, and is an accomplished author.  It’s all about the art for Byrne.  Big props also go out Brian Eno who co-wrote the music to this performance show and has been a long time collaborator of Byrne’s for many years.

Set List

Once In A Lifetime

Life Is Long

I Zimbra

Road To Nowhere

One Fine Day

The Great Curve

My Big Nurse

Burning Down The House

Houses In Motion


Life During Wartime


I Feel My Stuff

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today


Ride, Rise, Roar is presented in 1080i (2:1) widescreen.  Yep, you guessed it, it’s another winner.  Considering that that all of the performers including Byrne all wear white the contrast levels are handled amazingly.  There is no boosting or tweaking of any kind found here.  Black levels are also pretty good with no crush and they really compliment the contrast levels mentioned before.  Lighting colors are bold, with just a tad bit of banding.  DNR is not present, and neither is any serious edge enhancement.  I would say that the worst looking portion of the Blu-ray would have to be the black and white documentary portions of the show.  Other than that minor quip, this is a video winah!


Ride, Rise, Roar is peculiar in that it is presented in LPCM, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1.  Be warned that the back of the box and the menu screen indicate that there is a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1. track on there, but that is INCORRECT.  There is no lossless track on this Blu-ray release.  The DTS 5.1 track included is at 755 kbps.  Regardless, that DTS 5.1 track is a treat.  I did not release David Byrne could sing this well.  The vocals are handled effortlessly by the center channel and the backing band is also handled really well by the rest of the speakers.  Instruments have a steady balance to them and do not run into each other.  Crowd levels are also kept in check and do not get in the way of the music.  The LFE channel also gets a bit of a workout as it is always present on this 5.1 mix.  Such a shame that there is no lossless track on this release.  I am certain it would have elevated the overall finished product. 

Special Features  

There are no special features on this Blu-ray.

Final Thoughts

A truly unique performance piece hampered by the omission of a couple of songs, lossless audio, and special features.  David Byrne and Eno’s Ride, Rise, Roar is a valid entry into alternative music and dance category that deserves a shot at being experience.  If not for the visuals then for the sonics.  David Byrne is a great vocalist and guitar player.


Order David Byrne: Ride, Rise, Roar on Blu-ray!


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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