When Liberty Hall announced that their guests of honor for their 100th Birthday would be the Flaming Lips, it served as a perfect “No Duh” moment. Lawrence has always served as a stronghold for the Lips – something that has been true since even before a Lawrencian joined the
band – and it’s hard to think of any other band that could better serve to excite and unite the city that Liberty Hall has, in some forms, served as the heart of.
So it wasn’t surprising on Friday to see the band take the stage and put on a huge, enthusiastic show received by a huge, enthusiastic crowd.
Though four band members remaining calm and carrying on in the background, their inactivity was more than made up by front man Wayne Coyne, who last night could have made a case for being the happiest man in the world. Frequently he urged the crowd to make some noise
with “c’mon, motherfuckers!” At the end of the night, after sharing his profusely warm and fuzzy feelings about the evening with the crowd, he remained on stage for minutes just begging the crowd to keep cheering.
What makes it all the more impressive is that Coyne gave no indication that he doesn’t use this spiel on every crowd, every night – and yet remained completely sincere the whole time.
Coyne’s supreme congeniality was responsible for running a lot of the show, but there was certainly some help. The Lips have an absurd routine that they carry from city to city. This includes but is not restricted to: confetti cannons, dancing girls in skimpy Dorothy Gale
outfits, dozens upon dozens of man-sized balloons, and of course Coyne’s trademark human hamster ball that he takes on a tour over the audience.
Their music is practically an afterthought for the live setting. The Flaming lips have their fair share of big, bright happy songs, and every one of them they played killed. After this ephemeral opening (“Race for the Prize” > “She Don’t Use Jelly” > “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”), the band settled into more experimental songs with their current blend of turgid opti-funk. Those songs lost momentum, but nothing could have lost this crowd, and when the Lips ended the night with their essential hit “Do You Realize”, everything came up aces.
Openers Deerhoof played a much more conventional set, but they were weird and wonderful in their own ways. Like some sort of electric ADD jazzers, the band turned songs at a pinch and filled every second with energies going completely different directions, all somehow fitting in
with each other. When Deerhoof showed up to play two covers alongside the headliners, they injected some musicianship into a show that, while not with a deficit in that department, was overshadowed by the fact that it didn’t require a lot to begin with.
Photos and story by Ian McFarland
Race for the Prize
She Don’t Use Jelly
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)
On the Run (Pink Floyd cover)
Is David Bowie Dying??
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, pt. 1
See the Leaves
The Ego’s Last Stand
What is the Light?
Going Up the Country (Canned Heat Cover with Deerhoof)
21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson cover with Deerhoof)
Do You Realize??