For the past few years, people have all been having the realisation that David Letterman, 67-year-old David Letterman, has real cool taste in music. A lot of small bands are having their late night debuts not on Fallon or Meyers but on Letterman’s show. He will leave his Late Show throne on May 20 before Stephen Colbert takes over. It should be said the he also always had a good pick of musical guests. However rare they were.
Sure, most of Letterman’s musical guests were picked by his booker. But, what makes some of the performances better than others is his real enthusiasm for the acts. His music-nerdiness really comes through.
Here are our five favourite times where Letterman seemed impressed or moved by some of our favourite performers.
Parquet Courts – “Bodies Made Of”
Parquet Courts just appeared on Letterman last night with the performance that gave us the idea for this blog. Letterman is obviously a fan. At the end of the song, he walked over and said that him and band leader Paul Shaffer “would like to manage the band.” Can we join in too or is that too many cooks? (You have that song stuck in your head now, don’t you?)
Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
We love Future Islands. Dare we say that “Seasons (Waiting On You)” was our favourite song from last year. But, you don’t actually know the song until you see it performed live, especially on Letterman. Some people say that this is the performance that launched them into super stardom last year. We don’t disagree. Letterman’s reaction at the end of the performance is pure enthusiasm and has us saying, “I’ll take all of that you’ve got,” whenever we get that excited about something.
TV on the Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
We think that this performance of “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio touched the same nerve in Letterman that the Future Island performance did. The nerve that connects to his love for a larger than life, energetic frontman. Where Future Islands has Samuel T. Herring, TV on the Radio has Tunde Adebimpe. His on stage electricity is also why one of our Much.ca writers has seen them live a million times. When Letterman comes to stage to say goodbye he seems pretty stunned, and for good reason.
J. Cole – “Be Free”
Chances are that you have seen this one. It made the social media rounds at the end of last year. We have loved J. Cole’s homage to Ferguson since it first came out, but seeing it performed live on the Late Show was very moving. And Letterman noticed. When he came back on stage to greet J. Cole, David called the performance beautiful and said he enjoyed it a great deal. We completely agree.
Foo Fighters – “Miracle”
We aren’t just reading between the lines with this one when we say Letterman is a big Foo Fighters fan. He says it himself. Before the band plays “Miracle” David explains how much the band has grown to mean to him over the years and what this specific song means to him as a father. It is quite touching. It moved Letterman so much that he returned to the stage with tears in his eyes.
Bonus Video “Are Those Your Drums?”
David Letterman has been asking drummers about their kits for a long time. “Are Those Your Drums?” has been posed to Patrick Carney, Fabrizio Moretti, Tegan & Sara’s drummer and dozens more. Sometimes he even asks how old the drums are or just pays them a simple compliment. Then some genius put them all together. Check it out.