For those who don't know anything about the Flaming Lips, they are a freaking amazing band from Oklahoma..Wayne Coyne, Micheal Ivins, Steven Drozd and Kliph Scurlock make up the band. The Flaming lips can be described as the, for lack of a better term, the weirdest band of their time. From their inception in the early 80's still rolling strong today. Last year saw the Lips release two albums- one being the critically acclaimed “Embryonic” in October; a double album containing contributions from 'Yeah Yeah Yeahs' frontwoman Karen O and Brooklyn's own MGMT The other release from the Flaming Lips camp in 2009, was 'The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon'. Long story short, there are two sides of the fence with this one. My “Pink Floyd die hard” sources are extremely pissed for all the obvious reasons you can name. Myself on the other hand have found myself with the Flaming Lips giving me new appreciation for Pink Floyd. The record is brilliant, and I suggest everybody checks it out.
The Flaming Lips performed 'Dark Side of the Moon' in it's entirety at this years Bonnaroo Festival. I got my hands on the audio days after the performance and was enamored. This is what's bringing us to the question of the night-Will the Flaming Lips do 'Dark Side of the Moon' here at the House of Blues for the 4th of July? Weeks of searching Google for show reviews and artist released info has left the hand un-tipped, as there is no inkling to what they will do tonight. The beauty of this band-I mean seriously: Who knows what they're going to do? Will Wayne pull out the gigantic hands or tell us that we must do our part to fight for the legalization of Marijuana in America, who knows? Hell-they could come out and play a set containing not one song I know the name of and this shit is probably still going to be a life changer. At least one credible rock music publication has them on their list of “Bands you must see before you die”. Well then, lets get to it.
Lets not overshadow the opening act, Fang Island- a band that just released it's debut album, which was self-titled, on Sargent House records in February of this year. They have to be cool if they're opening for the Flaming Lips right? Well, lets see how the night turns out
I finally got to the House Of Blues at like 9:30PM- and sure enough, show is at 10 not the 9 o clock it was listed on the website. Never a surprise. So I run into the Showboat casino to find this place and of course it's way deep in there- what felt like a mile.. I get there and it's this elaborate place- with a concourse downstairs from it and an escalator leading up to the venue.. When I got there I was greeted by an old fashioned cowboy sort of feel to the room. Imagine if there was a perfect looking place to see a concert-now picture a bunch of high rollers trying to imitate that kind of look to their establishment. It was a little overdone(the inside section where the shows take place is flawless-sound was top notch, sight lines are great and they didn't hassle me about video).. Concessions everywhere but since I thought I was late I was in a dash upstairs and not shopping around- I finally find the stairs that lead up to the balcony where my seat is and then proceed to head up four flights of steps at which point I was light headed-but I made it. here I am Row M- aisle seat.. The balcony seating is steep and elevates quite a bit- there is no way I can be blocked by anyone's head-Awesome.
So the story goes from what I heard from some security guy is that the "Opening act is at 10, The Flaming Lips at 11".. So here I am in my seat- at 9:44PM- as I await the set to begin.. And the crowd gets into the Star Spangled Banner before the bands hit the stage then clap for themselves.
Fang Island came on 10:03 and now I notice we have video screens to the left and right of the stage.. By 10:42 I had enough of these guys.. What's up with the keyboards? You guys have three guitarists- you have potential to rock and you choose not too. They played a few songs- not sure how many were songs and how many were just flat out noise jams.. Half way through the set I notice the balcony seating not even be half full- leaving people to pretty much sit where they want. I'm right where I need to be- the highest row you can be-awesome view..
Fang Island went off a quarter to 11 with roadies running on stage to set up for the act we all came here to see - the one, the only, the kings of the weird- THE FLAMING LIPS!!!
It's not until 11:10 that they start inflating the giant bubble Wayne uses to walk the crowd in.. Then a ramp was set up where all the other band members walked through a door that opened in the video screen and out on to stage to a big hand.. Then when they went into the first song with Wayne( after he stepped out of his bubble) fires streamers into the crowd, keeping with the 4th of July theme. The stage is set with almost everything orange, with tube/cannon shooter looking things on each side of the stage. These things shot out what must have been 1000's of balloons in all different sizes and they were everywhere. The balloons were filled with confetti which burst out from each when popped- I gotta say it was a sight. You got the light show going with the visuals on a big screen behind the band which varied between visual effects and a close up of Wayne's face.. He gave an emphatic 'thank you' after pretty much every song along with thanking the crowd for "being such freaks". Every song they played seemed to have a different feel to it.. constant vibe shifts..
The set got more epic as the night progressed. We had “Mr. Catfish” on the side of the stage-one of the roadies in this big cartoon looking costume-its a great shot with that dude watching from the side of the stage. The later it got the more people started showing up and when I thought the props done I was so wrong.. Wayne heads off stage and comes back with the gigantic hands.. Those things are so great. I have it on video- he comes out with the hands and as the stage goes black each gigantic finger tip has a green light beaming onto the two big disco balls floating over the stage.. It was freaking crazy- I haven't seen that one on YouTube.
They did a basic Flaming Lips set- no dark side- but was still something that needed to be witnessed.. They played alot of songs off 'Embryonic', like 'I can be a frog', 'Convinced of the Hex'. 'See the Leaves', 'Sparrow Looks up at the Machine', 'Powerless'...I recorded a great version of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots' .. They did that song 'the W.A.N.D.'- it was in a Dell commercial, 'The Yeah Yeah Yeah song'.. The show went on til about 1:10AM, when they ended with “Do You Realize?”- a song that will be stuck in my head probably until the next time I get my bank account out of a negative balance.. and that's a long, long time from now
Bonkers.. Complete shock that the show was that good-I thought there would be times where I would get lost in the deep cuts section of the show. Not so. This was everything I've seen in videos, everything from all the stories I've read and heard about seeing the Flaming Lips-it lived up to the hype.. what an awesome band. Also was great that by the end of the night it was like we all just saw 'Blue Man Group' as everyone was covered in confetti, streamers and pieces of balloons...What a night!