If the Flaming Lips are performing anywhere remotely close to you, you should jump at the opportunity to see them live. Q Magazine once named them one of the, “Top 50 bands to see before you die,” and after seeing their show Monday night at the Old National Centre, it is evident why.
The psychedelic rock group, formed in Oklahoma City, is known for their elaborate live shows that feature complex lighting and an abundance of balloons and confetti. In years past, front man Wayne Coyne would start shows by emerging in a giant bubble and traversing the crowd.
However, with the release of their latest album, The Terror, on April 1st, 2013, the Flaming Lips have taken a darker approach to their music and this was reflected in Monday night’s performance.
Coyne emerged amongst an array of lasers, grasping a baby doll and dressed in a leather jacket and pants, which he complained about being, “too fucking tight,” throughout the night.
After introducing the band, in Spanish, to the thunderous cheers of the crowd, Coyne started the show with, “Look… The Sun is Rising,” the single off of their most recent album.
The sweet smell of cannabis filled the venue as the band started playing and at the conclusion of the first song, Coyne commented, “It smells a little bit like pot in here, right?”
Cannons blasted confetti into the crowd, in typical Flaming Lips fashion, as the band charged into their second song.
The set list was predominately comprised of new material from their most recent album. Wayne said that this show was the first chance the band has had to play a full set of their new material.
“You’re so stoned that if we had to restart one of our new songs, you would be one up, and you can say, ‘they were still working it out but they fucking got it by the time they left,’ Coyne joked.
When he wasn’t clutching the baby doll, Coyne played with a light gun that would shine a spotlight into the crowd. At one point, he said he was going to shine the light onto someone and when he does, that person has to get high. He proceeded to shine the light near the front of the crowd and said, “C’mon motherfucker, c’mon.”
Coyne was rather playful throughout the set and seemed to be enjoying himself, cracking jokes between songs.
“I don’t sing very well but you can tell I fucking love to sing,” he said.
“I don’t want the night to go by without letting you know how good it feels to be me,” Coyne said as the crowd erupted with laughter.
The highlight of the night came when the band performed a cover of the David Bowie song, “Heroes.” Bright white lights created a gospel sentiment as Coyne crooned, “We can be heroes, just for one day.”
At the end of the song, Coyne gave a short speech about what he felt David Bowie was trying to say in the song.
“What he is saying here is these motherfuckers want to tell you how to live your life. They want to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. We don’t want to fucking fight them because that’s not our way. We don’t want to even beat them and say ‘look, fuck you, we’re right.’ We don’t even want to do that. I think that David Bowie is saying, like secretly, he is saying fuck them; they are the ones who have the fucked up lives. We’re winning by living our life the way we fucking want to. But, sometimes we just fucking wish we could be them for one fucking night,” Coyne said, which caused everyone in the crowd to laugh and cheer.
“But that’s why I think we’re saying we’re heroes to each other. We’re saying ‘by me being able to live my life the way I want to, that lets you think, ‘I can live my life the way I want to too.’ That is why when I say we can be heroes, it’s we, it’s us, it’s you guys and us together. “
At the conclusion of the speech, Coyne led the crowd in singing the chorus to the song a cappella.
After a brief break during which the crowd begged for an encore, The Flaming Lips returned to play two songs off of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a well-known album the band released in 2002.
“We’ll leave you with this, this is not bad news. It may sound like bad news but it is not bad news,” Coyne said before playing “All we have is Now.”
An obvious homage for longtime fans, the crowd sang along to both songs as the evening came to a close. It was an appropriate choice to conclude with, letting the last line, “all we’ll ever have is now, all we have is now,” linger as they exited the stage.
If you haven’t heard The Terror, you can check it out below.
To see more pictures from the show, click here.