Gig review: The Flaming Lips

“THERE go the magic butterflies and the sun everybody,” said the man in the crimson tie-dyed body stocking with tinsel appendage.

The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne  in clothes this time  and in crowd-surfing mood. Picture: Getty
The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne  in clothes this time  and in crowd-surfing mood. Picture: Getty

The Flaming Lips - Usher Hall, Edinburgh

****

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That’ll be Wayne Coyne referring to his non-imaginary buddies then. Only The Flaming Lips could open a concert with a teasing psychedelic wig-out, dancing inflatable cartoon characters and a glitter shower and still have somewhere left to go.

The stage is a well-stocked kids’ playground when you are a Flaming Lip, especially for their Willy Wonka frontman, a man with a generous love in his heart, some darkness in his soul and pathos in his ravaged voice. Coyne aims to please – both his experimental musical instincts and the audience.

It is quite the balancing act, but was achieved here with a succession of the band’s irrepressible, euphoric indie pop hits, including the daffy yarn Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt.1, eccentric singalong She Don’t Use Jelly and former Oklahoma state rock anthem Do You Realize??, plus a pulsating multi-coloured light show and dancing aliens in yet more tinsel.Then it got really weird.

A more fully clothed Coyne appeared atop a platform draped in fairy light spaghetti, cradling and kissing a toy baby, while the band spaced out on the dystopian Krautrock odyssey Look…The Sun Is Rising and heavy glam rocker The W.A.N.D. Coyne repeatedly urged the crowd to join in, but with what?

The wide smiles and ecstatic air-punching soon returned when this acid Alice Cooper trip was abruptly cut off by the arrival of Race For The Prize, still the most life-affirming song about competitive scientific research in the popular canon.

Following this exhilarating, display, the encore cover of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, from their forthcoming tribute remake of Sgt Pepper’s, was almost surplus to requirements, burrowing back to the psychedelic source when they are already wired to the planets.

Seen on 26.05.14