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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Show Review: The Flaming Lips - Austin, TX (3/12/2010)

I just woke up about 5 minutes ago, and there some things going on with my body that I think people should know about.  First, my right ear feels like it's filled with liquid; like if I were to stick a needle in there, some gross stuff would ensue.  The sound coming out of it is muffled compared to that of my left ear.  Then there's my right leg, which feels like I've been jumping hurdles for 24 hours straight.  My whole body feels absolutely drained, exhausted, worthless right now...all because I chose to go see The Flaming Lips last night!

Totally worth it.

The more dedicated readers of Audio Overflow will remember that I last saw the Lips perform in September of 2007 as they toured in support of their awesome 2006 record (and Best of the Decade Top 15-er), At War with the Mystics.  Now the lips have a new album, one with an entirely new sound, and yet the show remained just as powerful as ever!  It actually is quite surprising to see how many of the songs from Embryonic actually work in the confetti-filled party atmosphere of a Flaming Lips show.  The band has managed to change their signature sound and style without sacrificing the very nature of what makes a Flaming Lips concert such an awesome experience.

Wayne Coyne has an uncanny ability to connect with every member of the audience on both a musical and spiritual level.  It feels weird to type that, but I believe it is true.  There is an old saying about having to give love before you can get love in return, and I believe Wayne is a perfect example of this proverb in action.  He is easily one of the most loving music legends one is likely to ever see.  So when he gets on stage and warns everyone that he may just destroy his set and crush half of the audience, it's done so with a nice blend of humor and genuine concern.  He really does seem to care for every member of the crowd of people singing along to his songs, wanting nothing more that to give them an experience that they'll remember for the rest of their life.

As is the case with most Flaming Lips shows that I know of, there are a lot of energetic, fun moments, and then there are those that are more touching and heart-felt.  This show was particularly more emotional than others, due to the recent passing of Sparklehorse frontman, Mark Linkous.  Wayne first dedicated "Vein of Stars" to the singer, before speaking candidly about his feelings on the deceased.  It was a truly touching moment as Coyne recalled memories with the singer and spoke about his thoughts on suicide and the passing of friends.  The band followed it up with "Waitin' for a Superman" from The Soft Bulletin, in one of the night's greatest moments.

My favorite performance of the night would have to be "She Don't Use Jelly," which remains just an amazingly classic rock song.  "See the Leaves" comes in a close second though, as the song has such a visceral energy that both exciting and, honestly, a bit unnerving.  Overall, it was an expectedly wonderful show.  Was the music too loud? Yes (especially when you're standing in front of $50,000 worth of speakers as I was).  Were the vocals flawless? No (they never are).  But The Flaming Lips are one of the world's best life acts because they know how to overcome their flaws to create something that is completely unforgettable and surreal!  When Embryonic first released, both Pitchfork and a particularly douchey friend of mine were quoted as saying that the album meant The Flaming Lips could finally lose the confetti cannons and get serious about their music.  Readers, I'm proud to report that -  apparently - they can keep the cannons and still rock!  Aren't we lucky?

Set List:
  1. "Worm Mountain"
  2. "Silver Trembling Hands"
  3. "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song"
  4. "In the Morning of the Magicians"
  5. "Vein of Stars"
  6. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" (Acoustic)
  7. "Waitin' for a Superman"
  8. "See the Leaves"
  9. "Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung"
  10. "Taps" (Iraq/Afghanistan War Tribute)
  11. "The W.A.N.D."
  12. "She Don't Use Jelly"
  13. "Convinced of the Hex"
  14. "Do You Realize?"
Oh...and how awesome were the DJ Lance Rock costumes!  If anyone from the show has good pics of the Yo Gabba Gabba! crew...send them to audiooverflow [at] gmail [dot] com!  My 3 year old nephew would love to see all the DJ Lances on stage!

1 comment:

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