But by the end of their allotted two hours, these masters of their respective genres had destroyed any pre-emptive expectations and delivered an incredibly entertaining performance along the way.
For performance is what it was: songs from each artist's respective back catalogues were incorporated with their new material and given new life, as part of a carefully put together show that was almost as much about staging, lighting and choreography as it was about the music.
Yet what music it was, from opener Who, which combined Afrobeat influences with a brass band so audacious it belonged in Baz Luhrmann's recent adaptation of The Great Gatsby, straight through to the evergreen Road To Nowhere, which had the normally staid Concert Hall dancing in the aisles by the end of the second (yes, second) encore.
In between Byrne, a white-clad "archangel of absurdity", conducted proceedings like a demented cruise ship singer, showing off a range of awkward yet enthusiastic dance moves.
Clark's powerhouse voice was not short of brass itself and her guitar-shredding skills stitched the show together as she skittered around the stage in skyscraper heels.
Among the highlights were a camped-up Like Humans Do; the Halloween blues meets disco breakdown of Marrow; and I Am An Ape, with its jazzy, melancholic beginning reminiscent of Miles Davis. And Talking Heads' Wild Wild Life had never soundtracked a karaoke scene as effective as the one where every member of a brass band conga took a line.