Flaming Lips provide immersive concert experience

Wayne Coyne rolls out into the crowd at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.

From the very beginning of a nearly two-hour performance when Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne comes out with the houselights still on and addresses the crowd, it is clear that his band is in an entirely different dimension of performing.

He warns the crowd of the strobes and noises in a way that is so counter intuitive to the rock star experience. In doing this he is basically breaking down the divide between him and the crowd. This is something the Lips do often at their show.

But whereas he is bringing himself down to the level of the audience with this opening gesture, for the rest of the show, he brings the audience right up to the level of the Lips. With huge balloons bouncing around, confetti cannons firing on all cylinders, visuals on giant video screens to keep those in the cheap seats entertained (hello, montage of ferocious fangs), the most joyful sing-alongs around and Coyne himself rolling around the crowd in his huge bubble, it is a totally immersive concert experience.

So why were there a whole bunch of empty seats in the back few rows at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston on Wednesday night? Seriously, there is no Grateful Dead, Phish hardly play anymore, and here is this
touring psychedelic awesomeness that you are all ignoring! Why have the stoners not all embraced the Lips? I mean, sure there were clouds of cannabis wafting around, but the way I figure it, every single person who used to fill up the stadium in Foxboro when the Dead should be coming to this show, or at least those people’s kids should. Sure, there are parts of the songs that are aggressive and rooted in punk, but you’d figure that today’s stoner wouldn’t mind.

But a Flaming Lips concert is not only a headtrip, it’s also a life-affirming human experience. As Coyne draws out the “Do You Realize?” lyrics during the encore, “everyone you know someday will die,” it’s hard not to look around and realize the sad and beautiful truth in these simple words, but with the next line, “instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast, it’s hard to make the good things last.”

It is indeed, which is why you all need to get thee to a Flaming Lips show soon!


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