What a Flaming Lips Concert Means to Me
What do I say?
I think the metaphor for the night would be about three quarters of the way through, when the very last huge orange balloon was bouncing around the pit, Wayne Coyne said we should aim our lasers at it. Lasers having been distributed earlier. The band wasn’t playing. We were all watching. The theater went dark, and the red lasers surrounded and illuminated the balloon. It was quite beautiful as it bounced through the crowd.
Wayne Coyne said we should toss it up to the balcony, as they didn’t have any balloons up there all night. At this the crowd on the balcony cheered. It became the thing to do. Get that balloon up there. We all wanted it. We wanted to help. We turned away from the stage and concentrated our efforts.
Many tries and several minutes later the balloon made it up there, still illuminated by laser pointers. A woman caught it, and raised it over her head like a trophy. We had accomplished something. We felt that we had just been a part of something important. Glorious.
We had gotten the balloon to the balcony. It felt like hope.
That, in essence, is the spirit of a Flaming Lips show.
They also played a lot of very good songs, opening with, predictably, “Race for the Prize,” and playing all the songs people knew (“Waiting for Superman,” “Do You realize??”), with a couple covers (Rolling Stones and a riff from Led Zeppelin), and a few lesser known tunes (“Mountain Side” and “Riding To Work In The Year 2025 [You’re Invisible Now]”) . . .
It was carnivalesque, with confetti and glow sticks raining from the sky, costumes and Martian cheerleaders . . . and comments from Wayne Coyne along the lines of, “Death is here to my left telling me to play another song.”
Which also, in its way, felt like hope.