Gig review: The Flaming Lips, Edinburgh Usher Hall

Wayne Coyle of the Flaming Lips, at the Edinburgh Usher Hall. Picture: David P Scott /
Wayne Coyle of the Flaming Lips, at the Edinburgh Usher Hall. Picture: David P Scott /
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“THERE go the magic butterflies and the sun everybody,” said the man in the crimson tie-dyed body stocking with a tinsel appendage.

The Flaming Lips

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Rating: * * * *

That’ll be Wayne Coyne referring to his non-imaginary buddies then.

Only The Flaming Lips could start a concert with a teasing psychedelic wig-out, dancing inflatable cartoon characters and a glitter shower and still have somewhere left to go.

But the stage is a well-stocked kids’ playground when you are a Flaming Lip, especially for their Willy Wonka frontman Coyne, 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, which is quite the balancing act, achieved here with a succession of irrepressible, euphoric indie pop songs (including former Oklahoma state rock anthem Do You Realize??), a pulsating multi-coloured light show and dancing aliens in more tinsel.

Then it got really weird, with Coyne atop a platform draped in fairy light spaghetti, cradling and kissing a toy baby, while the band played dystopian garage rock.

This acid Alice Cooper trip was abruptly cut off by the arrival of Race For The Prize, still the most life-affirming number in their popular armoury.

Following this exhilarating, lysergic and gleefully batty display, their encore cover of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was almost surplus to requirements, burrowing back to the psychedelic source when they are already wired to the planets.