The Flaming Lips
House of Blues, Orlando • April 12, 2007
After the likeably sonic Stardeath — hey, was that Wayne Coyne’s nephew? — Santa Clauses and aliens alike converged on the intimate HOB stage to join Wayne Coyne and Co. for a purely original Flaming Lips show.
Of course, there were shooting streamers and confetti, and giant yellow balloon globes floating and darting above the crowd’s reaching hands — we call that Wayne’s love — and yes, the Godzilla-sized papier-mâché hands held testimony on stage to the power of a larger-than-life embrace. But the Lips aren’t only about the party — they’re about the people.
While band members Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins (in trademark skeleton pajamas) buckled down and got the music done, frontman Wayne Coyne leaned into “Fight Test” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Part I” with left hand to heart, right hand cupping his ear, all emotion and smiles. The set was a simple rock-through of the band’s most famous, perfectly tailored to the Disney mainstream mindset of O-town. If you’ve heard of the Flaming Lips, you know “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “Do You Realize??”. But do you realize the Lips have a song called “Be My Head”? — an audience request unfulfilled but filled with fun, anyway, as Coyne mused about what a strange song name it is.
The stage pulsed with dancing fans in costumes and masks as the bang of a gigantic gong reverberated off the crowd and Coyne urged audience members to forget their troubles for just a few songs and try to enjoy the moment. The digitally animated movie screen behind the band showed band videos and various and sundry grotesque and Japanese happenings. A seductively starry point in the evening came thanks to Spaceghost and Spiderman, who handed out free laser lights before the show. The crowd aimed their lasers at an undulating reflective dish held by Coyne during “Vein of Stars” as an astral light show danced in the smoky air.
“The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)” from 2006’s At War With the Mystics was the protest song of the night, with its anti-Bush/anti-war sentiment. Uncle Wayne taught a brief lesson on “Taps” and the significance of the military funeral song as America’s soldiers fight and die all over the world today. The mood was somber as a lone bugle self-played the anthem to the silent crowd.
“We all have the power,” Coyne said in a recent NPR address, “to make moments of happiness happen.” Onstage, it was clear that the Flaming Lips decided to make their own happiness and share it with anyone willing to listen. It’s cool when you realize you’re not the only one who digs the freaky sonic alterna-pop that is the Flaming Lips. And whether you use tangerines or Vaseline, the Lips don’t care, as long as you’re happy.
Flaming Lips: www.flaminglips.com