The Flaming Lips | 06.10.14

live flaming-lips smThere was a fence in the background surrounding the band and what looked like alien entrails hanging from the rafters.

 

 

live flaming-lips

Photos by Chris Renteria

The Pageant, St. Louis 

Tuesday night’s highly anticipated and sold-out show is the first time the Flaming Lips have played the Pageant in a couple of years, a fact which front man Wayne Coyne acknowledged early on in their near two-hour set. Over the years, their stage setup has grown and grown and become more insane—for a lack of a better way of putting it. This current tour is, without a doubt, their most elaborate and amazing one yet. Having seen them live over a dozen times, I found this to be perhaps the most entertaining and awe inspiring show from them. The use of light and color was just brilliant and timed perfectly to the music, as well as to Coyne’s maniacal stage antics. Their choice of songs was designed to get you up and jumping around, then dancing with songs meant to tug on your emotions. The focal point to their show is love, and everyone at The Pageant felt it.

It was so nice to hear them kick things off with “The Abandoned Hospital Ship” from 1995’s Clouds Taste Metallic. The only thing you could tell with their stage set up, at this point, was there was a fence in the background surrounding the band and what looked like alien entrails hanging from the rafters. You couldn’t see much during the heartfelt piano opening to the song other than some colored lights in the entrails, but once the guitar and full band part kicked in halfway through the song, holy mother of gawd, the lights and emotion overwhelmed everyone. At that point, you knew you were in for something special.

Sure, you got the expected confetti and people in costumes. OK, you got a metric ass-ton of confetti, so expect to see some flutter down at shows over the next few years. But you got something that was just breathtaking and designed to trip you out. Through most of the set, Coyne was dressed in a Slim Goodbody costume, complete with silver tinsel for pubes and a tinsel cape. He even brought out a giant “FUCK YEAH ST. LOUIS” Mylar balloon that was passed all over the venue, including the balcony. Songs ranged mostly from their last few albums, but the Lips made some great choices to entertain the crowd and send people home happy with a few older tracks. Standouts were an incredible performance of “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton,” “Look…The Sun Is Rising,” the aforementioned “The Abandoned Hospital Ship,” “Silver Trembling Hands,” “Watching the Plants,” and the show closer: their cover version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” An exceptional night that was not to be missed—not that the Flaming Lips are really ever to be missed live.

Opener Morgan Delt was a psychedelic band from California that tried hard to capture the audiences but just couldn’t. Their brief, 30-minute set was filled with downer Black Angels–like neo- psychedelic rock that just didn’t sound that great. Even Coyne struggled to remember their name, but gave everyone the hard sell to check them out. No one was buying it. | Mike Koehler

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