“The Flaming Lips are in town, THE FUCKING FLAMING LIPS ARE IN TOWN! “ Was my reserved reaction to the prospect of seeing the Flaming Lips at the Edinburgh Usher Hall when first announced many months ago. Now that there are no more days to tick off the calendar, my excitement is more a less tangible!
It’s nearly impossible* to not be drawn into the carnival atmosphere of a Flaming Lips performance. It certainly crossed my mind that the confetti frequently sprayed into the crowd must have something lined on it as it’s rare to be anywhere which has such a jovial air as this. Alongside this is the fact that you know where a lot of your money is going, in an age where solo acoustic performers can charge over £20 for a show** it’s nice to see no expense spared on the decorations this evening.
Wayne Coyne, the voice and ringmaster of the Flaming Lips came onstage in what appeared to by a skinless human onesie encased in a jacket of glitter, which was one of the more normal things to be seen at the show. There were monsters, cages, lights a million and mind swirling projections! Normally with such a stage show I would be suspicious*** that this was covering up a lack of substance in the songs being played but the Lips are the special oddity , it really seemed to enhance it all, and what a set it was.
Despite the image put across of fluctuation and just going with the flow, the set list must have been painstakingly mulled over as it expertly walked the tightrope of new tracks to old. Tracks from the new album ‘The Terror’ were mixed in with little heard gems and a collection of some of their biggest** hits. An audience chorus to ‘Do you realise?’ was not exactly unexpected but this didn’t stop it from being utterly wonderful for the majority of those who participated****. The monsters, creatures and cuddly things***** onstage and many of the audience bounced about to an uproar rendition of ‘Race for the Price’. Whilst ‘A spoonful weighs a ton’ from breakthrough album ‘ The Soft Bulletin’ proved a fine closer to the main set.
Coming back for the encore the band played their twisted take on ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, which was interesting but lacked the strength of the material that had been played throughout the main set. But that kinda sums up the Flaming Lips for ya, why go the easy way when you can take a risk, although it may not pay off it adds to fabric of the show as tonight can testify to.
*With the possible exception of the stony-faced gent just up from myself.
**I realise this is due to less folk buying music and using online streaming and the like but you can’t help feeling short changed at points, even when you know the reasons.
***Except AC/DC, they are exempt from this rule… because their AC/DC!!!
****I’m calling out you stony faced bastards that I noticed.
*****Including Wayne Coyne.