Saturday Night Live welcomed back David Byrne for the first time in 30 years, and it took fans right back to the ’80s. The legendary Talking Heads lead singer was the musical guest alongside host John Mulaney this week on the NBC late-night show.
Byrne took the stage at Studio 8H in New York to perform the Talking Heads classic “Once in a Lifetime” with cast members of American Utopia, his recently wrapped Broadway show. The now 67-year-old new wave singer wore a gray suit — similar to one he wore during his Talking Heads days more than four decades ago — as he roamed around the stage. His second SNL performance was the song “Toe Jam,” from his 2008 collaboration with Fatboy Slim.
In comments to Saturday Night Live’s YouTube videos of the performances, fans freaked out over Byrne’s return — and the fact that his classic Talking Heads song is now 40 years old.
Several fans declared that Byrne’s performance will go down as one of the best ever on Saturday Night Live. Others got nostalgic about growing up in the ’80s as they marveled over Byrne’s live performances in an iconic suit that stood the test of time.
“Missing my childhood right now,” one fan wrote.
“He’s still got it!” another viewer wrote of Byrne. “His voice somehow stayed the same. Same funky moves.”
“How does he sound as good today as he did 35 years ago?” a third person asked. “Amazing. Gave me chills. The man is a true artist.”
“This song is the same as it ever was: Perfect,” another commenter wrote.
On Twitter, fans were just as excited.
DAVID BYRNE IS DOING “ONCE IN A LIFETIME” on #SNL and I am completely freaking out ????????????????????
Long live The Talking Heads & their greatest song
— Greg Talbott (@GregTalbott) March 1, 2020
omg David Byrne doing classic Talking Heads on #SNL right now is absolutely life-giving ????????????
— Dreamflower (@dreamflower127) March 1, 2020
Whoa…was not expecting a Talking Heads song. Fabulous surprise. #SNL
— SallyB (@SallyBalsamo) March 1, 2020
Byrne first appeared on Saturday Night Live back in Season 4 for a 1979 performance with the Talking Heads. The band performed their hits “Take Me to the River” and “Artists Only” in an episode hosted by actress Cicely Tyson.
Later, in 1989, he was a musical guest on the show to support his first solo album, Rei Momo, when he performed “Dirty Old Town” and “Loco de Amor,” as Woody Harrelson hosted.
With SNL stints in the 1970s, the ’80s, and 2000s, Byrne is a rare musical guest to have performed during the Belushi/Aykroyd, Jon Lovitz, and current eras of the show, Entertainment Weekly notes.
In addition, the Saturday Night Live gig wasn’t the first pairing of Mulaney and Byrne. The singer was one of the celebrity cameos in Mulaney’s recent Netflix children’s special, John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch.