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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

9/24/07: The Flaming Lips - San Antonio, TX

I woke up at around 8:30 am yesterday, excited about what was coming later that night. I was going to see The Flaming Lips for the very first time! I picked up a friend at 12:30 pm and we hit the road to San Antonio, a four-hour trip when you add in the mandatory stops at DQ and Buccees. We arrived at the venue, The Lonestar Pavillion @ Sunset Station, at around 4:45 pm and were pleased to see that we were 4th or 5th in line. The gates opened at 7 pm.

But 7 pm was not the joyous time that it should've been. To our surprise, the show was limited to those of us who were 18 and over. I bought my tickets at Ticketmaster and never once saw anything that would suggest an 18+ show. Of course, my friend and I are both over 18, but he forgot to bring along his Texas State Driver's Licence, and the security refused to let him in. But I was determined to see The Flaming Lips live, even if it meant seeing it by myself! I sadly went into the venue without him and obtained a pretty awesome spot at the very front, leaning against the guard rail. Sweet.

The opening band for the night was The Birds of Avalon from Raleigh, North Carolina. It's hard to tell if they were talented or not based on my ears alone. The speakers in the pavillion were maxed out all night, and most of what I heard sounded like someone putting their mouth around a $5 computer microphone and screaming at the top of their lungs. It was clear to me, though, that the band did have a suprising amount of talent at playing their instruments. Their two guitar players often had their instruments harmonizing with one another, and the girl guitarist's fingers were ablaze at all times.

The Birds of Avalon do their thing.

Halfway through their set, I feel a firm pinch on my behind. I turned around to find that it was not a beautiful naked woman, as it usually is, but my friend who was able to coerce a security guard to let him into the venue. No word yet on what, if any, sexual favors were performed in exchange for this deed.

There was about 30 minutes of downtime in between the sets. To my surprise, The Flaming Lips were on stage helping set up, waving to the fans and the like. It's the first time I've ever seen a group come out on stage before their set, and it was kind of cool to see. A few minutes later, the lights go dim and a group of Santa Clauses and Alien Space Nymphs walked on stage with flood lights and an excitement that was impenetrable. These two distinct groups were made up of a few lucky fans. They remained on stage for the entire show.

Santa Clauses

Alien Space Nymphs

Wayne entered the stage with his giant hands as per usual, and from there, the next few minutes were a big yellow mess. Confetti, giant ballons, Wayne shooting smoke at the audience, it was awesome!

It never really calmed down either. The band played "Free Radicals" and insisted that the audience scream "Fanatical, FUCK!" at the appropriate time. It was one of the more humorous moments of the show and Wayne was definitely getting a kick out of it. He also has a bad, but humorous habit of referring to the audience as "motherfuckers" and it was pretty funny to see him shooting us with smoke while clearly mouthing "Come on motherfuckas!"

The band was kind enough to play their more notable songs, including, "A Vein of Stars," "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," "The W.A.N.D.," "Fight Test," "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1," "Do You Realize," and "She Don't Use Jelly." On the "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" Wayne made sure that we had a good time with it, forcing us to shout out "yeahs" when it was appropriate, and ensuring that it was loud enough to piss off the residents of a nearby hotel. "The W.A.N.D." came complete with at least a dozen giant strobe lights, one of which was strapped around Wayne's neck. By the end of the song, I felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my head. Unfortunately, the band played "Yoshimi" very softly and ballad-like. No drums, no cool synths, or anything like that. It still sounded okay, but it gave one of the Alien Space Nymphs the chance to dance like a total ho-skank. And it definitely didn't help that she was the most unattractive of the bunch. Ugh.

The band ended the show proper with "Do You Realize?" before coming back out with a one-song encore, "She Don't Use Jelly." It was definitely nice not to see a band play a 4-6 song encore, because usually by that time I'm just ready to leave.

Overall, the show was amazing! Aside from the issue of the sound being way too loud and Wayne sounding like he did on pre-1998 Flaming Lips albums, the show was an absolute blast! I had to drive home afterwards and didn't get home until 3am, but it was all totally worth it.

For a ton of extra pictures, visit my Photobucket album.


tasja (ta-sha) said...

Hey! i was one of those alien space nymps!!! if you have any more pics of us could you please send them my way?! my dad wasn't as close as you were and all the pics of me were pretty blurry. if you could that would be soooo great! I'd really really appreciate it! WAS THAT SHOW NOT AWESOME!?!

thank you thank you so much!

Josh said...

im glad that wasn't the ugly space nymph! neat pix. you shoulda gotten some of the JHenry show at Dosey Doe tonight! You could sell those to the press, they're so rare.

Sarah said...

Hey, I was at this show - found your blog when I was trying to figure out the name of the opening act. I've seen The Lips 3 times now, and they put on one of the best shows I've ever seen. I was high on it for days after this one.

(psst, I totally know which space alien you're talking about).

Also, the show had to be 18+ cause it was hosted by Camel cigarettes, who gave out free stuff all night. Wouldn't want to tempt the young'uns with evil cancer sticks, now would we? :)