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yes, it does

As soon as the concert started, I thought, “I want to experience this every night. Foreverrrrr.”

…Okay, maybe not. I’m still half deaf, althought the feeling that cicadas are mating in my brain have died down. But is it worth it? Of course! I mean, not having cicadas literally mate in your brain, but the brain fuzz of going a little deaf. The Flaming Lips are worth a bit of bodily harm. You won’t endure much else during their concerts unless you get hit on the head by gigantic balloons too many times.

I’ve only been into The Flaming Lips since “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”, but I’ve been lucky enough to have seen them three times by now. (Sure, if I were more obsessed I guess I’d see them more, but I’m not at the level where I need an intravenous Flaming Lips IV drip attached to my brain. I think.) When they played with Beck, I felt kind of bad for liking their set more than his. When I saw them properly at Roseland, I could hardly believe how awesome they were, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I wanted everyone in the world to have the same experience. And I wanted to throw confetti at everyone’s faces like a madman.

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setting up

The Flaming Lips set up their own equipment onstage. I’ll use that as a reason to like them more. It takes down a barrier between the audience and the artist. Also, it looks like they’regenuinely doing stuff while setting up the stage, as opposed to making us wait pointlessly while our legs turn to Jell-O. There’s no mysticism; “Yeah, we’re the Flaming Lips…I just need to tune this guitar. And blow smoke at you.”

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time to begin…

But then the show begins. Crazy huge pink and yellow words blow up on the screen:


It builds up. Excitement. Anticipation. For crazy glorious things. Like the stage might explode in blinding awesomeness. Or if not the stage, than the audience. Gonna ‘splode. Not our corporeal bodies, but the other part. You know…that one…the part that feels floaty and full of joy. If you didn’t know you had that part, you would if you saw the Flaming Lips.

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attack of the balloons

After the introduction doodad they played “Race for the Prize” and all hell broke loose. And by “hell” I mean bouncing balloons attacked the audience; they were like gigantic hyperactive puppies that wanted to play with us, except they only way they knew how to play was by running into our heads. A lot.

It was awesome. And of course, the performance doesn’t suffer at all while the madness is going on. Not a beat is missed. Scary.

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confetti shower

Wayne utlized his sack of confetti, ecstatically throwing handfuls of it at the audience at the most confetti-worthy times. He also threw handfuls straight at Kilph (drummer). Really, straight at him. I thought it was funny. Hopefully Kilph didn’t end up with mouthfuls of confetti. I did notice at some point that he had a ridiculous amount of streamer-age tangled up in his drum sticks. There were probably a few points where roadies (dressed up as Jesus) had to gather up piles of streamers to clear the stage a smidgen…

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happy stage people

Unlike previous tours where there were people dressed up as bunnies, fish, owls, and god knows what else, this time people were dressed as Jesus, aliens, Santa, and…god knows what else. I prefer the animals, but these costumes must be less deathly in the “how likely is this going to suffocate me?” department. (To clarify, a few lucky people at each show get to boogie on-stage while waving around lights and whatnot. I think many times enthusiastic fans get to do this, although it’s harder in NYC since…well, there’s a lot of people and the band doesn’t have to pick up as many random people to be on-stage. If you went to a concert in a smaller city, you’d have a better chance at being Jesus. It’s my new life goal.)

The second song they played was Bohemian Rhapsody. SING-ALONG MADNESS TIME!! Sadly, I didn’t memorize all the words, but they splodged them on the screen large enough so that blind people could read it. Another sad thing is that I only know the song because my school band performed it in high school. That’s sad, right? Right.

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nun puppet

If I comment on every song they played, I will never ever finish this entry. Favorites: “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”, “She Don’t Use Jelly”, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1”, and “Do You Realize?” After Yoshimi, Wayne broke out the nun puppet and asked us to sing along with more feeling. Oh, the things you can do with a nun puppet.

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toy keyboard

“Cow Jam” consisted of Wayne playing a little children’s keyboard (which I swear I’ve almost bought on eBay before) while everyone else…jammed. I think he made a mistake at first, causing Steven to incredulously say, “Two buttons.” Wayne only had to push the cow and duck buttons. YOU CAN DO IT, WAAAYNE. YES. QUACK LIKE NEVER BEFOOOORE.

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As for other cool instruments, they had a double necked guitar with a parasitically attached iPod and Wayne had an modified acoustic guitar with a…thingy in the sound hole. Thingy? Theremin-ish? I DO NOT KNOW. But it’s a hell of a lot cooler than my acoustic guitar.

“Do You Realize?” is one of those songs that kills me. In a positive way, I mean. It seems like a good song to accompany the passage from life to death. Of course, it’s great to listen to while you’re alive, but something about it makes me feel like it would be a good soundtrack to watching my life flash before my eyes, as long as the flash lasts 3 minutes and 32 seconds. I’m the kind of person that tends to gloss over lyrics (eh, I’m ignorant), but when I hear, “Do you realize that everyone you know some day will die”, I think, “…No, but maybe I should think about that more often. YES. DEATHY!!!” I don’t know how to describe the feeling of singing it loudly with a gajillion other people. You’re fixated on…something. Or nothing. There’s so much stimuli, your eyes kinda just glaze over and look at everything. What’s going on? WHO CARES! AHRAH! MRAH! BLUGUHR! KEYBOARD MASH!

[I forget which song it was, but one of the background movies they played was a Chinese cartoon involving a monkey and a dragon fighting each other…underwater. I’m almost positive that this is the same story (although not the same animation) I watched 500000 times when I was a little kid. Almost positive. The only problem is that I can’t remember what the story was called (I watched it 500000 times in Chinese, which never quite embedded itself in my head). I think it begins with a boy being born out of a flower and then avenging his mentor’s death and eventually committing suicide before coming back to life and slaying the evil dragon, etc. If anyone has any idea what i’m talking about, let me know. It’s possible it wasn’t even the same story, but it looked similar and kinda freaked me out for the nostalgia factor.]

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Wayne blew up this huge-ass balloon until it exploded. Awesome.

Wayne chatted with the audience every now and then. He told us how great it was that we would do these silly things we wouldn’t normally get to do, like play with giant balloons, sing along to the songs and wave our hands in the air. It meant a lot that the concerts made people happy, especially people who needed a little escape from reality for a few hours. He also said that while tolerance was a great thing, perhaps America was too tolerant (of the government); what we need to do is legalize marijuana. Well, he said other things, but that was the last message. And…[pokes self in brain]…

This entry is too long. My head is still fuzzy. Nothing compares to the kind of happiness and joy you get out of a Flaming Lips concert; it’s not on par with anything else. Scott says it well: “It wasn’t a concert. It was a celebration.”

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Other reviews:

* “Stereogum”:http://www.stereogum.com/archives/002451.html
* “Chris”:http://musicsnob.blogs.friendster.com/chris_music_snobbery/2006/04/flaming_lips_we.html
* “Who’s Driving the Bus?”:http://whosdrivingthebus.blogspot.com/2006/04/flaming-lips-webster-hall-night-1.html

Update: You can download the show at dimeadozen.org (thanks Honey!)