Tuesday, 20 July 2010

428 THE FLAMING LIPS, Spectrum, Bristol University Anson Rooms, Friday 12 November 1999

Just 3 happy travellers (Ady, Rachel and myself), as Dave blew us out at the last minute to go see Swindon Town play. His loss; financially as well, as we couldn't shift the spare ticket! We arrived just as the support band took the stage; Spectrum, former Spacemen 3 mainman Sonic Boom's new charges, who followed the same druggy droney noise-rock route that made me avoid Spacemen 3! Monotone, irritating and headache-inducing, I'm afraid, so I repaired to the bar, although Ady stuck it out!

Went back to watch The Flaming Lips set up, which is always fun in itself. As Wayne Coyne toyed with a toy alien ray-gun, I shouted, "shoot me now, Wayne!" at him - so he did! Just before their by-now standard soundcheck, they asked the crowd to provide them with a huge welcome, so after going off, once again took the stage to rapturous applause!

This is the 4th time this year I've witnessed this extraordinary live experience, but it's still not getting old or tiring! In any case The Flaming Lips revamped the set tonight, drawing more heavily from delicious new CD "The Soft Bulletin", and also including "Lightning Strikes The Postman", and an unexpected "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", with Judy Garland on the big screen providing the background visuals. Apart from that, the humour (extensive use of the fake blood, the gecko hand puppet and toy dog, the confetti blasts, and of course the ray-gun!), extraordinarily rich musical depth and range, and visual spectacle (especially the new video for the brilliantly emotive "Waiting For A Superman", undoubtedly the highlight of the set) that characterised all the previous gigs was once again much in evidence.

We even got an encore this time! "The Spark That Bled" was followed by Michael Ivins standing on his chair and hurling confetti over Wayne Coyne, who sung "White Christmas" through his bullhorn. A bizarre yet entertaining finish to another brilliant Flaming Lips evening. This band are producing the most "out there", unorthodox yet lushly melodic music of anyone today. Long may they astonish and inspire!

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