Live review: The Flaming Lips @ Red Rocks AmphitheatreBy Billy Thieme | August 4th, 2011 | 4 comments
The Flaming Lips know how to throw a party. So much so that the first 10 minutes of their set at Red Rocks on Wednesday night was a guide on how to proceed once the band started playing. The sold out crowd welcomed the instruction as front man Wayne Coyne laid down the rules — including his intent to walk across the top of the audience to a high middle point in the amphitheater inside a latex bubble — and then he disappeared.
A few minutes later, band members began to walk through the giant, rainbow-shaped stage backdrop as it played a looping visage of Judy Garland’s Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” The classic movie reference worked for that night’s show, since the aim was to interpret Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety, and the two seem to be connected, according to urban legend. Last to appear was Coyne himself again, inside his now signature inflated ball.
He proceeded to walk inside the ball across the top of the crowd, once it was fully inflated, uphill to the middle point of the amphitheater and then back down to the stage, amidst wild, feral cheering. Once he alighted on the stage again, the band began to cover the classic album’s songs, and the crowd seemed to settle into a respectful hypnosis.
That hypnagogia was partially revived during the set by an incredibly rousing version of “The Great Gig In the Sky,” featuring exquisite vocals from Vitamins singer Lizzie Allen.
The Lips took full advantage of the legendary connection between “Oz” and the legendary album during their two hour set, starting with an army of Dorothy impersonators that flanked the stage for the duration. They also interspersed the Pink Floyd album’s songs with songs from the beloved movie, including renditions of “Over the Rainbow” — an obvious fit — and a hilariously Coyne-led, audience-participation version of “If I Only Had A Brain.”
Most of the audience seemed to eat the performance up, though there were reports of dissatisfaction from Pink Floyd purists in urinal lines.
The highlight of the magical evening was an elongated encore version of their mega-hit, “Do You Realize??” which inspired more than a few misty-eyed sing-alongs. Once again, the prescient visions of Coyne and company built a fitting tribute to another of rock’s greatest albums, and added their own inimitable flavor to it — and it was good.
Click here to read our feature: The Flaming Lips, in my life (a visual and written perspective).