Flaming Lips Bring The Space Opera To Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center

“The promoter wanted me to tell everyone in the seats way up there that this building has an excellent ventilation system,” Wayne Coyne began to express to the Pittsburgh crowd, “and he said it’s okay that you guys smoke pot up there.”  Wayne Coyne is a funny dude, not in a comedic sense, although that comment sure got the tuned up Steel City audience in high gear for a night of melodic celebration.  Coyne is just well, ‘different’.

Coming out onto a high rise platform with snaked light up tubes wrapping around in some space ship Matrix 2001 Odessey love ship, taped up with aluminum and tubing reminiscent of pulsating organisms, Wayne literally clutched a baby doll for at least the first three and a half songs, often caressing it, sucking its toes and hands, as though it were a living child in his hands.  His outfit of metallic leather, silver metallic beads glued near his eyes, with the look of a blue bearded cross between Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan playing with toy trumpets and bellowing out for the crowd to make more noise from behind the thick smoke was like an alien presence before all.

Even if one were not truly familiar with the band that has been around since their hit in the nineties with, “She Don’t Use Jelly”, the surrounding light show, the atmosphere, the showmanship and the sheer magnitude of the presence that the band exudes combined with a musicianship that is rarely found in many popular groups is enough to keep most concert goers enthralled.  The Pittsburgh crowd appeared more like stunned.  With a true understanding of how integral the visual is with the visceral and the cerebral and the soulful much like in the vein of Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips have that certain something that puts one into an otherworldly state without the use of chemical enhancement (although it may not hurt).  It’s surrealist art for your ears.  With any luck they will bring their space opera back to visit us again soon to explore their new effort “The Terror” further and Mr. Coyne can continue being ‘different’ because that’s what makes him and his band so exceptional and beautiful and confusing.  Babydolls, toy trumpets, and all.

Setlist: Look…The Sun Is Rising ,The Terror ,The W.A.N.D. ,Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast ,Silver Trembling Hands ,Try to Explain ,One More Robot ,Sympathy 3000-21 ,“Heroes” (David Bowie cover,) Do You Realize?? , Always There, In Our Hearts

All photos © 2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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