“Flaming Lips” set The Pageant ablaze in fantastical concert
April 25, 2017
A disco ball. Flashing neon lights blinding the audience. Mushrooms, unicorns and a massive hamster ball encasing Wayne Coyne, the lead singer of The Flaming Lips.
Though only a few, sparse words explaining The Flaming Lips concert on Sun. Apr. 23 at The Pageant, they are more than enough to encompass what was the most visually interesting and peculiar concert I’ve ever attended.
The band, The Flaming Lips, began releasing music in 1986 and has continued to produce alternative and psychedelic rock with tastefully added synth in more recent albums. For their latest tour supporting their fourteenth album “Oczy Mlody”, their trippiness continued to shine as brightly as 31 years ago.
Let me just say, I’m no novice when it comes to concerts. I’ve been to upwards of 15 concerts with a large majority taking place at The Pageant. Even so, I was in no way prepared for the three-hour experience I was a part of for The Flaming Lips. Here are the three “all-time best” events I witnessed:
In a cover of the late David Bowie’s hit song, Wayne Coyne did what I thought was impossible. Coyne rolled out on stage in an inflatable hamster ball and, believe it or not, sang the entire song inside. For me, “Space Oddity” is my favorite song of all time and I was worried that The Flaming Lips would take away from the Bowie experience; however, I was not only not disappointed, I was blown away. The expert band included two drummers, two guitarists, two piano players, a bassist and a synth player who expertly played the tune in sync with Coyne. The best part of the song? The moment Coyne rolled in his hamster ball across the crowd and onto a little platform across the stage. I didn’t know the correct example of bizarre until I was supporting a lead singer’s body weight while dancing to my favorite song.
“There Should Be Unicorns”:
As the second song in the set, “There Should Be Unicorns” originates from their most recent album “Oczy Mlody”. The song is mostly instrumental but for the few lines of the song, Coyne appeared in the back of the venue on, believe it or not, a glowing neon unicorn donning a pair of inflatable rainbow wings. He didn’t just stay at the front, though. He proceeded to move up and through the crowd on the floor atop his fantastical dame crooning his own song. Never before have I seen a crowd so in touch with a band front runner; moreover, never before have I seen the front runner emulate more love for his fans than they feel for him.
“Race for the Prize”:
As the first song of the show, Coyne does not disappoint with a memorable beginning. When the synthetic overture began blaring through the speakers, balloons and innumerable amounts of confetti fell from the sky while hypnotic rainbow visuals exploded from the gigantic LED screen on the stage. Though I’ve been to concerts with a much older crowd than the one found at The Flaming Lips, the fans here cared for one another and danced together from the beginning as though they were one moving body- a sight seen so little and an action only an expert performer can garner.
The three hour show included so much more than what was named: light-up gongs; dancing inflatable eyeballs, overgrown aliens, and the sun; and string, snake-like lights hanging from the ceiling Coyne wades in as though covered in a neon dot rainfall. With a reputation as psychedelic as The Flaming Lips, their stage production does not disappoint with a colored world showcasing fantasy lands of feel-good beats and pure love. As for the shows I will attend in the future, good luck trying to live up to what I experienced that fateful night.