Jul 29, 2009

The Flaming Lips @ Hordern Pavilion

Expectations can kill you. The anticipation for a big event can thrill you and excite you. But what if your expectations are not met. Your expectations set far too high. You can be in for a fall. Reality brings you crashing to earth. Well, Tuesday night at the Hordern Pavilion was a definitive case of expectations met. Indeed, probably exceeded. For my first time in seeing those Oklahoma legends The Flaming Lips was a night of pure wonder. Unadulterated joy. Smiles as big as watermelons, with hearts swelling and all worries smashed into the sunset.

Joy, joy, joy. For over 90 minutes a raptured audience became one. One big happy family. One big, seething mass of joy. There was so much happening, that I am sure I will forget something, but here goes anyway. A big screen lit up the back of the stage. An image of a naked woman projected onto it. Slowly, but surely, the action focused on her vagina, which morphed into some sort of huge psychedelic hole. Then each member of the band made their entrance through the hole, with background music on hand, before Wayne Coyne arrived to full fanfare. Wayne then proceeded to enter his famous bubble. Slowly it grew and he ventured forth into the audience, which promptly lost its collective mind. Then, after a brief pause, the band exploded into "Race For The Prize". At this point, countless balloons descended into the crowd, with confetti being exploded as well. The band was joined by its animal costumed dancers and the venue was just going nuts. Nuts I say. When the song finished, I was pretty much satisfied. The first ten minutes was a smorgasboard of action and delight and they had played a great song from my favourite Lips' album, "The Soft Bulletin". I could have left, but there was more...

It was nice to hear some new songs from their upcoming new album and we received one early in the shape of the thundering "Silver Trembling Hands", which was followed by the high energy "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song". This song was just so much fun as the crowd sang out "With All Your Power" from the bottom of their lungs. Then came a huge highlight. The glorious "Fight Test" was played in stripped back form, with all of its innate beauty glowing in the night. Truly stunning. But this night was more then just the music. It was the energy, the chaos, the glee of seeing inhibitions being thrown to the wind. We had the visuals on the big screen. We had the dancing frogs and panda type thingies. Oh, to be in one of those suits for a night. We had the enormous caterpillar and the person dressed as a sun. We had a monster that took Wayne Coyne for a ride. We had the confetti continually showering us and the balloons that bounced on the heads of happiness. We had a front man in Wayne Coyne that is pure love. He would pause through out the night to thank us and espouse the notion of love and happiness as a way of changing the world one smile at a smile. On this night cynicism would be kept at the door. This was a night for the true believers.

So, back to the music. If there was a slight flat spot, it was around the middle, as the audience perhaps stuggled with some new/old numbers. But it didn't last long. A serene "Vein Of Stars" led us to the obligatory "Yoshimi". Wayne asked us to sing along, but we didn't need much encouragement. Played with bare bones, the words echoed around the venue with smiles stretching till they ached with joy. It still got better somehow. I was excited to hear "Pompeii", a great song from their last album with Steven Drozd taking the vocals. Wayne then played a moving version of "Taps", in honour of the fallen in unjust wars. This was quite stunning. "The W.A.N.D" and "She Don't Use Jelly" were back to back wrecking balls of fun, a sheer delight. With that, the band made their exit. But it was only brief, for we needed one more song. "Do You Realize??" closed, with some tears being shed I am sure. The song was one last explosion of joy, preceded by a real life marriage proposal on stage. Colours and sounds clashed and imploded. As the song subsided Wayne thanked us more time. He had it wrong though. We were the ones doing the thanking.

Set List
Race For The Prize
Silver Trembling Hands
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
Fight Test
Enthusiasm For Life (Defeats Internal, Existential Fear)
Convinced Of The Hex
Mountain Side
Vein Of Stars
Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 1
Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung
The W.A.N.D.
She Don't Use Jelly

Do You Realize??


  • At July 29, 2009 , Anonymous Tim said...

    yeah, amazing night. so many great moments. excellent crowd for a sydney crowd too. almost everyone was in good spirits and really got into it.

  • At July 29, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sounds like an amazing gig, well not gig experience. Thanks for the well written review of it. Glad you had fun!!

  • At July 30, 2009 , Blogger A Drunken Man said...

    Nice recap of the event mate. I was at the one in Melbourne last night, and you captured the night quite well.


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