Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Flaming Lips' Live Show
My good friend Bobby said something quite profound to me the day before I was going to see The Flaming Lips for my 1st time on 8/17/09 at the beautiful outdoor Greek Theater in LA:
"You only get to see The Flaming Lips for your 1st time once."
Now I realize that's a fairly obvious statement but, at the time, I could barely contain the overwhelming excitement I was feeling in anticipation of seeing a band that is acclaimed worldwide for its spectacular musical productions. Sometimes I make the mistake of expecting too much from a particular band or artist's live performance but, in the case of The Flaming Lips, my expectations were beyond exceeded.
The show was on a warm Monday night in August at my favorite outdoor venue in LA, The Greek Theater. I love the Hollywood Bowl too (especially because you can bring in your own booze & food) but The Greek holds a special place in my heart. It's smaller than The Bowl & the theater itself is completely surrounded by huge trees that help contain the sound to give you an even more intense acoustic experience.
So my 1st Flaming Lips experience was at my favorite outdoor venue & there was an added bonus...Ghostland Observatory was opening for the Lips! I'd seen Ghostland one time before at Coachella in April 2009. Their show in the desert was amazing & their opening set for the Lips at The Greek was even more amazing. Frontman Aaron Behrens' crazy, falsetto vocals & funky dance moves paired perfectly with Thomas Ross Turner's exceptional drum & synthesizer talents. To top it all off, their laser light show was phenomenal! The colorful beams of light were so powerful that they shot straight to the back of theater & bounced off the trees all around the perimeter. It created a visual effect unlike anything else I'd ever seen. I was so happy my concert buddy Andy & I had made a point to get to the venue in plenty of time to catch this entire opening act.
To get an idea of what the lasers looked like & what Ghostland sounded like, check out:
Believe me...you NEED to watch that clip :-)
After a brief intermission, The Flaming Lips made an entrance I'll never forget. The main large screen at the back of the stage had an electronic, artsy image of a woman's "nether regions" that zoomed in closer & closer until the screen was filled only with this one image. Suddenly, from the middle of the woman's "flower", a zipper started to unzip & out came the band members one by one, stepping down a small flight of stairs that had been rolled in front of the screen while no one in the audience was even paying attention. Of course, lead singer Wayne Coyne was the last to emerge. The crowd went wild :-)
Now, because I don't want to ruin all the surprises you might encounter at your 1st Flaming Lips show, I won't give you a play by play of the entire show. I will only say that there was a ridiculous amount of confetti, dry ice shooting out everywhere, giant balloons bouncing all over the theater, costumed characters dancing on the sides of the stage, Wayne rolling around on the crowd in his plastic, man-sized bubble, Yoshimi sing-a-longs, super creative imagery & insane light displays.
I walked out of The Greek Theater that night in a daze of pure bliss.
For just a taste:
The Flaming Lips' most recent album Embryonic was released on 10/13/09 & it's been getting rave reviews. I feel lucky to have seen some of their new songs performed live before the new album was even released. As a gift to the fans, The Lips sent you 3 free downloads of songs from Embryonic along with your ticket purchase so you could get acquainted with some of their new material before hearing it live.
There's a reason that, in 2002, the British publication Q Magazine listed The Flaming Lips as one of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die." In my opinion, they're one of the Top 10.