Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Flaming Lips At Hollywood Forever Cemetery: 'When The Going Gets Weird...'

Let it be said that I have been to some interesting shows in my time, and just on paper this was ready for the top ten, before it even commenced.

Flaming Lips in a cemetery, what's not to love? I made the 'Soft Bulletin' show, sticking with what was near and dear to my heart, although I do look forward to hearing reports of the second night, where they took on 'Dark Side of the Moon, as only they could...featuring guest appearances from opener Marnie Stern and the one and only Peaches (!).

Night one was all about them, and suspense built through the last minute adjustments and sound checking. Wayne Coyne hit the stage to open the festivities with a thank you to the cemetery, and a warning about the lights, and tips on how to handle a man in a giant orb coming toward you.

From what is now the middle of their catalogue, The Soft Bulletin was a tipping point, when the harsh oddness of their early days wore off, and thanks to an oddball MTV hit, they were faced with actual commercial prospects, and the question became: 'what now?'.

Finding a sympathetic ear in producer Dave Fridman, (who helped transform Mercury Rev's Deserters Songs), they hit the jackpot with a lush, stunning cycle of songs that didn't shy away from the complications of growing older.

Thanks to Jimbo & the Exposure Room, the whole show is available here to view.

Caveats on my videos: the sound overwhelmed my poor camera, being right up front, & see the video above for the whole spectacle, but mine will definitely give you a feel of how special 'right there' was...

Mo' caveats: please be mindful of the first video if you have any strobe related is after all, The Flaming Lips...The first video, below, is the 'grand entrance', i.e. introducing band members from a giant eyeball, Wayne taking a spin in the hamster ball, i.e. the usual...

Video #2 is the lead track, "Race For The Prize", and as you will witness, is just pure batshit pandemonium...

Highlights from the rest of the set include Wayne borrowing some fake blood from the audience during "The Spark That Bled", and what other audience can you count on being equippped with fake blood?

A touching take on "The Spider Bite Song" gave respect to the core members, the oversized laser-shooting hands made an appearance, and the set peaked with an emotional rendition of "Waitin' For A Superman"...

On stage right, the supporting cast included Interpretive Dance With Light Saber, amongst the characters!

Final note: didn't have much time to poke around Hollywood Forever before the sun went down, but on the way out, I was delighted to trip over the final resting place of none other than Johnny Ramone, which made for a fitting end to an unforgettable evening.

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