THE first flurry of Tattoo fireworks went off not far into The Flaming Lips’ set down below in Princes Street Gardens.
Princes Street Bandstand
Star rating: ****
But what need do this Oklahoma band have of supplementary pyrotechnics when their own stage show is rock’s most inclusive acid carnival?
The Flaming Lips’ live extravaganza was far less hi-tech than any sold-out precision drilled military display, being more of a handcrafted wonderland draped in a hanging garden of fibre-optic fronds, populated by inflatable aliens and catfish, with regular ticker tape showers dispensed from a tube.
Although usually dynamic, there is almost always a random trajectory to their sets, with frontman Wayne Coyne throwing a bunch of props at the crowd from the outset, and the music gushing forth in euphoric peaks and noodly psychedelic dips.
Except that there were rather more of the heavy jams and floaty interludes in this particular set, coupled with a road crew whose consumption of substances had made them a little sluggish on the uptake.
Not to worry, The Flaming Lips are a band who embrace the chaos and expect their audience to do the same. “Come on, come on,” was Coyne’s regular rallying cry to the fans, who perked up during the gauche pop favourites She Don’t Use Jelly and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots but flagged during the more indulgent fuzzy odysseys. Somehow, this indulgence felt appropriate, even if it did not make for the most arresting listening experience.
They clawed back focus with big glam electro rocker The W.A.N.D. and ended their main set with the pulsing love vibration of A Spoonful Weighs a Ton before the evening’s two outdoor displays fell into perfect synch and the tattoo fireworks finale erupted as The Flaming Lips reached the cleansing crescendo of Do You Realize?