Music review: The Flaming Lips, Barrowland, Glasgow

The Flaming Lips’ triumphant post-Covid return to Glasgow was a riot of light, colour and hope, writes Fiona Shepherd

Flaming Lips at Glasgow Barrowland, 27 May 2022 PIC: Calum Buchan
Flaming Lips at Glasgow Barrowland, 27 May 2022 PIC: Calum Buchan

The Flaming Lips, Barrowland, Glasgow ****

Forget delayed satisfaction – after two years of next to no touring, Oklahoma space cadets The Flaming Lips went all in from the moment they hit the stage.

Leonine frontman Wayne Coyne was zipped into his now signature Zorbing bubble from the start – a prescient idea which the band also developed for audience members in order to allow for a handful of Covid-safe concerts during lockdown.

However, with social distancing hopefully now a thing of the past, Flaming Lips fans were returned to their natural state – in massed communion with this most imaginative and community-minded of bands.

Every song was a theatrical event. The ecstatic Do You Realize?? needed no embellishment but was still accompanied by a huge rainbow and ticker tape shower; another of their most lustily received hits, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt.1, by a cartoony inflatable monster.

But their delivery was just as brilliant on their darker proggy reveries such as How?? and the suitably lysergic Mother I’ve Taken LSD.

Regardless of some of the darker sentiments, the show was a riot of light, colour and hope, as expressed on one of their poppier gems, Waitin’ for a Superman, and the psychedelic gallop of Always There, In Our Hearts.

Coyne is big on teamwork and the Lips’ latest collaborator is Leeds teenager Nell, who has recorded an album of Nick Cave covers with the group and guested at the gig with her rendition of goth pop classic Red Right Hand – not the best showcase for her sweet voice but received with enthusiasm by a crowd who were along for the ride.

As the band headed into the encore, there was great excitement and anticipation for their next set piece – in fact, all that was required to set Barrowland afloat was the rainbow euphoria of their psychedelic pop classic Race for the Prize.