The Flaming Lips – U.F.O.s at the Zoo
For anyone that has gone to a Flaming Lips show, they know it is not your typical concert experience. The travel itinerary consists of a stint in whackyville, a jaunt over to sweet melody land, a quick tour through the rock-ys, and as you can see in the new Flaming Lips DVD, U.F.O.s at the Zoo, a venture into the human wilderness.
The opening scene of this concert footage and various outtakes is hilarious, as it switches between scenes of a Lips show crowd, dolled up in costumes and yelping like animals, to the serenity of primal creatures, gorillas, monkeys, seals, lions and other animals in their zoo habitat, acting quite tame and sophisticated in comparison.
Granted, the concert is taking place in their hometown of Oklahoma, and in fact it is taking place at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
But I didn’t see them in Oklahoma, yet the scene at Red Rocks and Lollapalooza last year was still very primal and nutty. There were the girls dressed up in Santa Claus outfits, which complimented the other girls in silver dresses and alien masks. There was also the clan of superheroes (in the DVD their bodies are blurred out, which is weird…maybe some big package action showing, who knows), but there wasn’t the actual U.F.O. ship that lands on stage, enabling the members of the band to disembark and greet their huge mass of fans. It made me wonder if they bought it off ELO, and found out later in the DVD that during sound check they actually reference that band’s show, along with the Funkadelic’s mothership and the “Close Encounters” film as inspiration for the Lips’ take on space travel, sans any Spinal Tap mishaps.
Yes, there is also the big plastic bubble, which allows Wayne Coyne to crowd surf safely through the throngs of arms stretched wide to carry him ‘round the venue and back to the stage, giving the folks an up close and personal experience if only for a second.
Just a few minutes into this DVD, or just a few seconds into their live show, will tell you that this is the biggest birthday party you’ve ever been at, or a reenactment of the turn of the century, complete with streamers, balloons, confetti, colorful lights and big smiles. The creativity that Flaming Lips has put into its music over the years comes through full force in the show’s production, giving people a chance to be kids again, to do that dancing like no one is looking, to sing at the top of your lungs and bounce beach balls with abandon.
The Lips compare this experience of being in front of the crowd to that moment in time when they viewed a natural phenomenon, the Northern Lights, and their complete awe and everlasting impression that vision made upon them. “To stand and face The Flaming Lips’ audience is to relive this overdose of energy and new belief. They are an undulating mass of encouragement and acceptance with a willingness to become excited.”
Every day is Halloween and Christmas, as fans break out in their own quirky costumes or show up dressed like the regular folk, hoping to be hand-picked by Coyne or the Animal Wrangler to appear on stage with the band and “dance like assholes.” So again, if you have yet to experience this musical phenomenon, this Saturday you’ll have a chance to see The Flaming Lips at Monolith at Red Rocks. And you can also get a head start on your Halloween ideas in the process.
“All humans are urged to attend!”
To get a peak into what this experience is like, pick up The Flaming Lips – U.F.O.s at the Zoo DVD, available now on Warner Bros Records.