Flaming Lips @ Edmonton Event Centre

Yo Gabba Gabba. Rita McNeil. The Flaming Lips.

What do these three have in common?  

Headline sets that start before 9:30 pm.

Of course, this isn’t anomalous for a concert at nondescriptly-named Edmonton Events Centre (can’t i just call it Ed’s? Or Red’s?).  It is anomalous, however, for an 18+ show set for a Friday night.  Even the security guards seemed shocked that the Lips took to the stage at a ludicrously early 9:30.

I can’t give you an overview of opening act Ariel Pink, namely because I didn’t plan on showing up at 8:00 pm to see him. Youtube suggests it may have been something like this or this ?

The Lips, however, reached deep into their grab bag and pulled out all their favorite gimmicks: Wayne glimmered atop the crowd in a giant space bubble. He wore giant puppet hands and shot laser beams onto mirror balls, refracting alien green light into the audience.  A mic-level video camera streamed grainy, god-like closeups of him onto an impossibly high backdrop.  

Beyond the cult of Coyne, technicians found even more ways of warping the uptight, shoe-gazing indie crowd into a mushy mess of good vibes and unabashed smiles.  Pulsating strobes melted minds into a giddy, ecstatic state. Confetti cannons, smoke machines and giant balloons created an immersive and inescapable culture of participation.

At a Lips show, the spectacle is never about mere gimmickry: it’s about creating personal connections and meaningful memories. Bridging old school hippie love with new school technological playfulness has been their schtick for the last 25 years.

West Edmonton Mall might call itself the greatest indoor show on earth, but last night, because of the Flaming Lips, the claim finally rang true.

more in Music Review     |     posted Sep 25th, 2010 at 1:03pm     

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