Monday, September 12, 2011

Hopscotch 2011 Day 3: The Flaming Lips at City Plaza

All photos by Kevin Norris
Before taking the stage as the Saturday night headliners at the City Plaza stage, The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne took the opportunity to warn the crowd about strobe lights and encourage them to let their freak flag fly.

"The time to freak out will be while we're playing music, not while I'm in the space bubble," Coyne told the crowd. The show that followed is one that the thousands of attendees will not soon forget.

Right out the gate, the band launched into "The Fear" as Coyne entered the space bubble and wandered out over the crowd. As he returned to the stage, they launched into the thrashing "Worm Mountain," and the crowd was bombarded with streamers, confetti, giant balloons and as much aural and visual stimulus that a human could handle.

The band's breakthrough 1993 "She Don't Use Jelly" came third in the set and the band kept up the crazy antics throughout the evening. Coyne spent quite a bit of time between songs talking to the crowd about a variety of subjects and he was constantly calling the crowd "motherfuckers," not in an encouraging rather than derogatory way.

A stripped down ballad version of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" fell in the middle of the set and including a rousing crowd singalong. Towards the end of the set, they played soaring versions of the closing songs of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse," prefaced by some lengthy rambling by Coyne about how much he likes the moon.

As the show was drawing to a close, one lucky fan up front named Lara had the good fortune to have the band and the City Plaza crowd sing happy birthday to her before the band ended the evening with the soaring official rock song of Oklahoma, "Do You Realize??"

Raleigh is not likely to see a show like this again anytime soon. The Flaming Lips concert experience is truly unique and to have it in the middle of downtown made it all the better. They set the bar high for the festival, so we can't wait to see who will take the big stage next year.

Set list
The Fear
Worm Mountain
She Don't Use Jelly
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
Is David Bowie Dying?
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (pt. 1)
See the Leaves
The Ego's Last Stand
Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung
Brain Damage
Happy Birthday (to Sarah)
Do You Realize??


Jarrett said...

Best show I've ever seen in Raleigh, bar none.

Carey said...

Best show of the weekend!!!

FYI: Her name was Lara not Sarah...

Lara the Birthday Girl said...

Oh no! My name is Lara, not Sarah! (and yes, I'm a big enough dork that I'm looking up information from that specific show)

Wayne said it best - I will definitely be telling my potential great grandchildren about that show someday. Thank you for the wonderful write-up.