Having spun Oczy Mlody on repeat for the past week, Getintothis’ Vicky Pea goes on a magical neon trip with The Flaming Lips.
We’d been on neon alert since October and now tonight Manchester would get the warm and fuzzies straight from the source, The Flaming Lips.
Our excitement had only greatened with the release of the energised Oczy Mlody. This, coupled with the many hints and whispers of what the Lips had in store for this tour – arriving via our social media feeds – way before we had time to cover our eyes from the spoilers.
This evening, for one night only, the Manchester Academy becomes a candy store, a playground for the imagination, an alien planet and a dream factory. Wayne Coyne and Co have never been reserved with their now infamous sets and having made confetti, inflatable frog costumes, more LED’s than most bands would use in a lifetime and giant crowd-surfing zorbs trademarks of their shows, tonight proves there’s no sign of them slowing down.
The crowd are treated to all of these familiarities, a true embarrassment of riches. The show starts with an explosion of streamers, glitter giant balloons and more. These are the kind of theatrics that are usually saved for an encore. Before too long there’s a unicorn protruding its head out of the glittering drapes that adorn the stage. I’m sure you’re getting the picture?
How the show begins
The inflatable crowd-surf becomes a highlight of the night. Not, as you’d expect, for the spectacle alone, but as it takes place during a truly immaculate rendition of Space Oddity. To their own admission, now over a year since the death of Bowie, the band had tried to “stop playing this” but can’t help to come back to it. “Maybe we’re the right ones to keep playing this song”.
The spectacle is incomparable in nature. It’s the ultimate hybrid of everything eccentric. The palate of a fully saturated Wes Anderson, the surrealism of Cronenberg or Lynch, WTF-ness that exceeds that of a Shia LeBouf project and smiles bigger than you’d see at Disney World. Just as ‘home is where the heart is’, the happiest place on earth is wherever the Flaming Lips are.
What the Flaming Lips are achieving with their live shows should be no less important than that of Pink Floyd‘s game changing light shows of the 60’s. Although it appears chaotic at times there is not a pixel, not a single LED, that isn’t precisely programmed and serving a purpose. They’ve taken the visual element of live performances to another level entirely and the effect is stunning and more importantly, contagiously joyous.
Just as the lyrics to tonight’s closer Do You Realize?? tingle the skin and put a lump in the throat, the light show evokes its own emotional responses. When the bulbs rain, fall, rise or pulsate it is impossible not to grin or find your heart skipping a beat as you’re overcome with a feeling of sensory satisfaction and warmth.
We should have taken some sun shades because when the Flaming Lips shine, they shine brighter than anyone else.
Photos by Getintothis’ Vicky Pea