Before flaming lips played just one note, it was also clear that giant air-filled bubble singer Wayne Coyne stepped in as the group was determined to deliver a pandemic-safe show in Costa Mesa on Thursday.
Not because of the bubble. It’s been Coyne’s stage prop for years now, since Coachella 2004, at least, although the Oklahoma City band have tried to bubble the rest of the band and fans into their own during a few small shows. half-pandemic.
No, instead, those were the cautious words Coyne said, telling the relatively small crowd at the Pacific Amphitheater that he really hoped people weren’t getting as wild as they usually were during a Flaming Lips show.
“Tonight we don’t want you to lose your mind at all, because we want you to be very aware that there may be people around you who are vulnerable to this endless virus,” the singer said during five minutes. explanation of the course of the night.
“So we’re going to start the show and be happy,” Coyne continued. “Don’t do anything that puts all of this at risk. It depends on us. Please take care of each other the best that you can.
“I don’t want someone to come home later feeling like it’s got out of hand. We love you and we are so happy that you are here.
The show opened with “In Cinema on Quaaludes” and “All We Have Is Now,” two adorable and sweet numbers that set the tone for much of the follow-ups.
“The show hasn’t started yet,” Coyne insisted between those two numbers despite all the evidence to the contrary. “We’re all going to get used to listening to music and taking care of each other. And I’ll let you know when the show starts.
But in a way, you might think of it as kind of a prelude. “Quaaludes” was one of five songs from “American Head” in 2020, which brought the group back to the melancholy sci-fi hymn genre of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”, including “All We Have Is Now” came.
Sit down, set the controls for the stars, we’ll take off soon, served to say the openers, which we then did with the section that followed.
“Race For The Prize” began with explosions of confetti cannons on the hall, its inspiring soaring melodies, its strangely premonitory lyrics. “Two scientists are racing / For the good of all humanity”, begins the song released in 1999, before continuing a line later, “Locked in a heated battle / For the cure which is their price.”
One of the band’s most popular songs, it was followed by another, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1,” which dazzled the crowd with a three-story inflatable pink robot towering over the band. “She Don’t Use Jelly”, perhaps the group’s biggest commercial success, followed by most spectators.
“It’s so wonderful for us,” Coyne said, explaining that earlier in the week the group debated canceling the show and a few others due to concerns over COVID-19.
“Our dilemma is this,” he continued. “Normally we’re very proud to be from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. But there are a lot of humans out there who resist getting the vaccine.”
He started explaining the Flaming Lips worries – the last thing they wanted was to accidentally expose others to any viruses detected at home – then two bystanders behind me started shouting pro and anti-vaccination arguments l ‘against each other and the rest of what he said he was drowned. Sigh.
Highlights for the back half of the show included a trio of “American Head” tracks: “Will You Return / When You Come Down,” which opened with a delicate voice from Steven Drozd, who, after Coyne, is the oldest member of the group, then “Assassins of Youth” and “Mother I’ve Taken LSD”.
“The WAND” featured fuzzy guitars and buzzing synths, along with a pair of portable confetti cannons Coyne proudly announced they whipped together earlier today with pieces from a party supply store.
“Feeling Yourself Disintegrate” and “Sleeping on the Roof,” both from 1999’s “The Soft Bulletin,” closed the show, the latter a lovely lullaby with cricket sounds and Coyne swinging a utilitarian light around his head as a giant firefly like the crowd gave him back the lights on his phone.
Then, after a brief pause, a single song reminder of “Do You Realize?” Perhaps the band’s most beloved song, and a perfect summary of the music and night’s message: life is precious, take care of each other and savor every moment while you can.
Band Greer, formed by friends from high school in Costa Mesa in 2018, opened the night with a solid indie rock set reflecting influences such as Rilo Kiley, fellow travelers like the Regrets, who they’ve toured with, and a handful of unexpected covers – “Man Out Of Time” by Elvis Costello, which, dammit, more please.
It was clear that there were a lot of hometown fans who arrived early for Greer, singing loudly to tunes such as “Song For Me”. Now signed to Epitaph Records, and still barely out of his teens, Greer has impressed.