I’m not even going to go anywhere near reviewing the The Flaming Lips’ concert yesterday night at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. I’d already seen them in Norway earlier this year, but when you’re talking about The Flaming Lips, it doesn’t hurt to see them again.
It was actually a double-bill with The Raveonettes, but I missed that because I was stuck in the office. (Although everybody bar one person I spoke to thought it was “okay lah” and it reminded them of Jesus And Mary Chain.)
What I didn’t like – and let’s get it off our chests now, so we can get to the good stuff later – was the sound. It sounded muddier than a mangrove swamp and I felt didn’t do the band justice.
Although to be fair, like at the Wonder Girls showcase earlier this year at another hall at Sands, that only depended on where you stood. For instance, if you were in front, to the right and left of the stage, or standing 10m behind the mixing board – although goodness knows why you’d do that - it was probably not good. But if you were standing just in front of the mixing board, it would have been okay.
But come on, who goes to a Flaming Lips concert to listen to the music – much? Even singer Wayne Coyne told me that while the music is important, the performance even more so. In that respect, the Flaming Lips brought it on.
There were the confetti blasters, there was Wayne in a bubble, the giant balloons came out, the megaphone came out; some of the dancers in orange suits started them off, the man in a bear suit (though no one could be sure if it was the Ulu Pandan bear) carried Wayne, who played the bugle, the strobe lights, the giant gong, the bubble guitar, the laser hands - though not at the same time.
Add to that a soundtrack consisting of gems like I Can Be A Frog, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, She Don’t Use Jelly, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, Do You Realise?? and well, only a stick in the mud wouldn’t enjoy that.
True, I did feel - like Wayne did – that the crowd could have been a little bit more responsive or at least louder (he kept cajoling, “Come on come on come on come on,”). The only time everybody was 100 per cent in the zone was during the last song Do You Realise??
Still, it was one of the most sublime shows I’ve been to. “Show” – hmm, it wasn’t a show, it was a party. And I’m glad I was there.
(photos by Jason Ho and moi)