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The Flaming Lips, London 2006

The Flaming Lips
Hammersmith Apollo
14th of November. 2006.
A review

Flaming Lips

I

was born the day they shot a hole in the Jesus egg

Can the Flaming Lips be any more wholesome? Like psychedelic prodigal sons they have returned from post-punk weirdness, drug addiction, being old and being successful to deliver an almost perfect performance. At the Hammersmith Apollo in November giant testicular balloons rose and fell, streamers streamed, lasers ejaculated turgid green tentacles through the manic grins of the beloved who grabbed each other, electric eyed, yelling ‘This is the best concert, ever!’ Sense drunk on sound, vision, and ecstatic bonhomie The Lips almost languidly revelated their shoebox arena sermons to the saved, I was there I saw it happen.

Various top concert lists regularly feature the Flaming Lips, breathily intoning capital heavy praise like; ‘Things to see before you Croak’, ‘Incitements to Excitement’, ‘…puts Soul back in Rock and Roll’ etc. Indeed, its hard not agree as the Flaming Lips have mastered drawing the crowd in (sometimes on stage) and sending them home with the belief that the DIY ethic is viable and if these pretty regular guys of uneven talent can produce greatness, anyone can.

But these are old glories for the Flaming Lips, born from a gestation period lasting over 20 years, they’ve done it now and within the prop laden lovefest is a nagging doubt.

Flaming Lips


Between every song Wayne Coyne decides to pontificate, at length, and without any real focus. He is obviously earnest in what he says, practically choking with emotion when he tells us what’s on his mind; that we’re great, that the world can change, that we have the power, but these are messages too explicit in his music, too obvious in the metaphor heavy air reminiscent of children’s birthdays, to actually say anything other than emphasising the cult of Wayne.
Perhaps he has to do this but like any prophetic visionary discarding the person from the message is surely what it’s all about, isn’t it? The drug addiction, the ageing, the commercial success, the long years in the wilderness, these flagrant demons that perennially let rock heads roll into obscurity were overcome by the Flaming Lips’ determination to make great music and when Wayne lets the vibe sag between every song it’s a cautionary come down in an otherwise hope affirming rock mass.
Wayne Coyne walking across a sea of hands in a plastic bubble is an awesome way to start a concert, no reservations, but for someone so adroitly anti-icon it’s a representative step in the wrong direction. On with the music.

My hands are in the air
And that’s where they always are
You’re f***ed if you do, and you’re f***ed if you don’t,

– Five stop mother superior rain

 

The Flaming Lips
Hammersmith Apollo
14th of November. 2006.

Lyrics: ‘Five Stop Mother Superior Rain’ – Flaming Lips, In A Priest Driven Ambulance

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