Photos by Merideth C. & review by Dave G.
I’ve been a fan of The Flaming Lips since 1993 when the single “She Don’t Use Jelly” was released. When I bought the album it was on, “Transmissions From the Satellite Heart,” I quickly realized there was way more to this band than the silly sing-a-long that everyone loved. Their sound was powerful and ambitious. With later albums like “The Soft Bulletin” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” which might be the only album I listened to in 2002/2003, The Flaming Lips solidified themselves as one of my favorite bands. Their sound is always unique and they can be consistently relied upon to surprise and delight.
I missed chances to see The Flaming Lips play live several times over the years, so when I heard they would be in Detroit, I knew there was no way I could miss out again. Known for the outrageous spectacle of their live performances, I knew I was in for something amazing. I was not disappointed. The crowd at the Fillmore was more packed than I have seen it in all of the shows I have been to at that venue. Everyone was ready for a great show. Even Lead singer Wayne Coyne new it would be special saying, “This is going to be the greatest fucking show there’s ever been!”, before launching into the first song, “The Abandoned Hospital Ship.”
By the end of the song, the air and floor were already covered in confetti that had burst from cannons set up on each side of the stage. The audience was enthralled by the psychedelic light show happening on the screen behind the band, which continued to display rainbows of color throughout the show. The Flaming Lips are also well known for inviting giant inflatable characters onto the stage. At this show we got to see a rainbow, mushrooms, giant winged worms, a sun, aliens, and a variety of other monsters. One highlight that the got the crowd roaring with approval was the giant balloon formation that spelled out “Fuck Yeah Detroit”. It was passed into the crowd where it was pulled apart and the letters were bounced around like beach balls the rest of the show. At one point Coyne asked for the “D” to be passed to him and he wore it around his neck while singing.
About halfway through the set, a large box with video displayed on it’s sides was rolled onstage and Coyne performed most of the rest of the show atop it. The box had several props inside that Coyne used during the show including a baby doll that he rocked for one song, a spotlight that he shined on the crowd when the lights dimmed, and several other strange light and strobe machines.
I love a show where the audience knows every lyric and sings along. This was one of the most memorable sing-a-long shows that I’ve been to. Some of the loudest singing was on “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1,” “She Don’t Use Jelly,” and the two encore songs “Do You Realize??” and the Beatles cover “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” About midway through the set Coyne addressed the loudness saying: “This is the fucking loudest crowd we’ve had in a long time. I mean we are playing fucking loud, but you guys are louder. And that’s saying a lot! We love you, we love you, we love you.”
The feeling was clearly mutual. This was an absolutely unforgettable show. I feel lucky to have been a part of it.
Download songs from this set list by clicking the iTunes icon!
- The Abandoned Hospital Ship
- She Don't Use Jelly
- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
- In the Morning of the Magicians
- Watching the Planets
- Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
- Race for the Prize
- Look...The Sun is Rising
- The W.A.N.D.
- Try to Explain
- Silver Trembling Hands
- A Spoonful Weighs a Ton Encore:
- Do You Realize??
- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Beatles Cover)