Since 1983, The Flaming Lips have been America’s most consistent purveyors of psychedelic rock. Following their mainstream breakthrough albums, The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, the three-time Grammy-awarded band upped their live show to what leader, Wayne Coyne has called “rock’s greatest acid punch party”. In support of their latest album, Oczy Mlody, The Flaming Lips brought this party to Toronto’s Rebel on March 13th.
Opening the show with a slow build version of Race For The Prize, the party atmosphere began immediately. Explosions of confetti and balloons, and an overwhelming video and light show set the audience dancing and smiling from the first beat. The title track from Yoshimi, had the audience singing along. For the first of only 3 songs played from the new album, There Should Be Unicorns, Coyne rode through the audience on a colorfully lit unicorn. Mid-set, the band honored the influence of David Bowie with a lovely cover of “Space Oddity“. Coyne performed this song from inside his hamster ball that rolled out into the audience.
But this show was more than just over-the-top visual effects to delight a chemically-enhanced audience. The 6 musicians backing Wayne Coyne deftly jumped from instrument to instrument, creating a lush, layered symphonic rock experience. From the photo pit, it looked liked no easy job, yet seemed flawless in execution. The night ended, as expected and adored by the crowd, with the lovely (official rock song of Oklahoma!) “Do You Realize?“
If you have the chance to see the Flaming Lips on this tour, do what you can to get to the show. You’ll experience an auditory and visual event like no other, shared with one of the happiest audiences you could imagine.