Jesse Jarnow

new year’s resolution #1: post more often

Watching the Flaming Lips’ New Year’s show at Madison Square Garden last night, opening for Wilco, wasn’t so much about being surprised but about seeing the culmination (one hopes) of Yoshimi, knowing exactly what was coming, and enjoying every second of it. It was beautiful to see the Lips’ stage show transplanted into such a large room. Part of the drama was wondering whether or not it would work.
I was in the upper 300s, straight back and across the room. As their set opened, the Lips looked very small and distant, the sound muddy and gross, the houselights still dim above our heads. But the balloons kept coming, growing like a lush psychedelic flower from the stage as fast the Lips’ Okie buddy roadies could fill ’em, It was like the climax of Akira in slow motion.
By the end of “Race For the Prize,” the room was filled with color, and the Lips were in charge. Wayne Coyne does a very good job of making it look and sound like he’s giving the audience exactly what they want. And certainly the sing-alongs, the images of Dick Cheney and company flashing on the screen during a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” the goading from Coyne, etc., can all be used as evidence that the Lips are pandering.
But then what do you make off all the truly gruesome images flashing on the screen in the Lips’ videos? The blood and the guts and the people getting shot, cut open, collapsing, dying? Is that what people want? Is it Coyne’s party trick to make people think that they do?
I think it’s high time for the Lips to take the money and run, to go finish Christmas on Mars before it turns into Coyne’s personal SMiLE.


Leave A Reply