Did You Realize? Flaming Lips at the Bank of America Pavillion

The Flaming Lips
Bank of America Pavillion, Boston Seaport District, 07/27/11

Wayne Coyne & His Bubble

Wayne Coyne & His Bubble. (Photo – Levi Peckham)

The Flaming Lips have endeared themselves to the weird of the world for what’s going on three decades – and their edge is as sharp today as it was in 1983, cutting through the hearts of their faithful with the artful skill of a katana. This is a band that’s never wavered from who they are or what they do – which is what makes their everlasting appeal constantly fresh and genuine.

If you’ve never seen the Flaming Lips live you’re doing yourself a disservice – Wayne Coyne and Company are professional entertainers who happen to be extremely talented and creative musicians, and this was no exception on a breezy summer night on the Boston Harbor. This was the third time in the past three years I’ve been able to see the ‘Lips – and the earnest respect and love that’s volleyed between stage and audience throughout the evening gets me in the throat every time. Love is a word that’s now becoming extinct in these days of irony, but it’s impossible to not feel or acknowledge its existence in the community of people assembled for a Flaming Lips show. Their demographic much like their career, spans across generations of fans – and the mix of individuals adds as much to the festive atmosphere as does the balloons and confetti.

Flaming Hands

Flaming Hands. (Photo – Levi Peckham)

Before seeing The Flaming Lips live I discredited the space bubble, video, and balloons as cheap gimmicks and tricks – I thought all a rock ‘n’ roll show needed was for the band to play their instruments – allowing the theatrics to happen organically while on stage. This sill holds true for most bands, but the ‘Lips engage you in so many thought out and structured levels, while still embracing the concept of improvisation, that the potential for gimmickry evaporates as your senses become barraged – turning the night into something much more than a Rock Show – and more of an Event. You find yourself lost in a swell of song, confetti, balloons, smiles, and comradery, and for a few hours at least, the problems of life are muted to a bearable level, and within 360 degrees you see nothing but brothers and sisters, all knowing that love is both powerful and limitless – and having no one but the Flaming Lips to thank.