by RYAN BOLTON
Unabashed, psychedelic good fun. That’s not even a sentence, but that’s how I would sum up the Flaming Lips’ free show at a completely packed Yonge-Dundas Square Saturday night for NXNE. Like everyone else in the crowd, way into the thousands, as soon as those confetti canons went off and frontman Wayne Coyne was in his “zorb” bubble crawling atop the crowd, I was all smiles.
After waiting for an hour to squeeze into the beer section and an extensive pat down, the stage resembled a forthcoming party zone. A massive disco ball overhead, dangling streamers and about 30 huge-ass coloured balls to the side. I could also make out a human-sized green alien standing to the side. Odd, but not out of place at a Flaming Lips show.
The show opened with the screen projecting a topless woman dancing to something akin to psychedelic ’70s graphics. It then zeroed in on her light-producing va-jay-jay (vagina). As the zorb bubble – a human sized translucent hamster ball – was being blown up with Coyne inside, the band then appeared through the woman’s lady bits, as in, through the backdrop. Are you with me so far? This is just the start.
With Coyne inside the now-blown-up bubble boy ball and a massive unleashing of confetti and those giants balls, it was sensory overload. As Coyne maneuvered atop the audience, he really seemed to be enjoying himself, although he could only really crawl as walking looked to be trying, which is fair when you’re crowd-surfing in a giant hamster ball.
The Flaming Lips’ music, what I would best describe as alternative psychedelic space rock, if that means anything to anyone, complements the performance. If anything, many know their more accessible songs, like “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1” and “Do you Realize??” but more importantly, that they put on you-need-to-see-them-before-you-die shows. Their stage shows precedes them almost, as girls dressed a la Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz dancing around and smoke-producing megaphones should, I guess. It was more about the art performance and the swirling rumours about Radiohead showing up.