First off, let me say that I am not the biggest
Flaming Lips fan there is. In fact, up until just now I have
only owned one of their records. Since seeing them, I have become
I arrived at the show in Hollywood to massive amounts of people
in and around the venue. Celebrities galore including Elliot
Smith, Beck, Matt Stone (South Park), Giovanni
Ribisi, etc. So, we all know what kind of show I was in store
for, right? After fighting my way through the throngs of people
I finally made it into the main space. I was pleased to find
that there weren't many people inside yet and I would be able
to get a nice line of sight.
Lou Barlow appeared on stage to sparse applause from the audience,
and began to play a poignant acoustic number to the silent crowd.
Lou was eventually joined by the other guitarist of Folk Implosion.
They played a couple of songs to the crowd's delight, until
the rest of the band arrived on stage. The Folk Implosion of
today is not your Natural One of yesteryear. They are
now a much mellower act, but have not lost one bit of their
groove. The songs are touching and not non-sensical, which in
turn made the audience seem more serious and attentive. After
several songs, Lou Barlow announced that it was his birthday,
and that it was time for him to leave and allow the rest of
the group to rock out. They did so for a couple songs, until
making way for The Flaming Lips.
On stage, lead Lip Wayne Coyne seems like he is having more
fun than any man should be legally allowed to have. He walked
out with the rest of the band dressed as large white bunnies,
and thanked everyone for coming. He also thanked Lou for graciously
performing on his birthday. Then suddenly, Conan O'Brien's melon
appears on the giant screen behind the band to announce the
first track from the new Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots....
Those who have seen The Flaming Lips before know to expect
the unexpected, and the performance on this night certainly
yielded plenty of unexpectedness. They flawlessly performed
several old songs, and included a delightful cover of Kylie
Minogue's Can't Live Without You. They also played plenty
of new songs to satisfy the curiosity of the crowd.
Images too many and too whacky to recall appeared throughout
the night on the screen. These included scenes from Time
Bandits and Cool Hand Luke, among many
others. This was the complete Flaming Lips performance with
fake blood, flying monkey hand puppets, smoke, and loads of
confetti filled balloons supplied to the crowd by roadie "Dog-bear"
and Wayne. Never have I left a concert with such a large smile
and a shiny happy attitude as on this night.
I recommend seeing The Flaming Lips to anyone who even remotely
likes music. Even if you do not own any of their records, the
show is extremely enjoyable and always memorable. The only flaw
I can find is that a lot of the music is pre-recorded, but there
is so much going on musically that this is inevitable. In a
day and age when bands obviously sell-out to appease the public,
The Flaming Lips keep doing it their way, while inventing new
ways to entertain.