The Flaming Lips at The Pageant, 6.10.2014
I’ve seen The Flaming Lips six times in the past few years, and each has been a special experience — few bands manage to pack so much good music (and visual overstimulation) into any given evening.
The Lips’ previous stage setup is about as well known as a band’s setup can be. There was a half circle screen, a bunch of fans-turned-dancers on either side of the band, truckloads of confetti, and Wayne Coyne in a fine, shabby suit. It was fun, but following a string of more experimental (and frankly, darker) records, it’s no surprise that the stage show has undergone something of a reinvention.
I think the new setup, depicted above, is a step forward and a step back. The strands of lights are used to great effect during some songs, and induce claustrophobia in others. The huge LED wall behind the band allows for more color and video, but cuts down on space for persistent costumed dancers. Coyne’s attire is definitely weirder, but he spends less time reaching out to (or rolling on top of) the crowd.
Nothing lasts forever, and while the previous iteration of The Lips’ stage setup was exceptional, it was also getting expected. I’m glad they shook things up.
Shot for The Riverfront Times.