TVD Live Shots: The Flaming Lips at the House of Blues, 3/7

After two full hours of insanity courtesy of The Flaming Lips, it immediately became clear how incredibly talented this band actually is. From unicorns in the audience to inflatable robots on stage, Wayne Coyne and company left it all on the table in front of a near-capacity crown at the House of Blues in Anaheim on Tuesday night. The Flaming Lips performance was a psychedelic whirlwind to say the least, and ultimately left fans yearning for more when the show finally came to a crashing halt. This show was trippy, strange, and probably one of the most incredible live performances I have seen in years.

Make no mistake, I have gone to thousands of concerts over the years and have seen just about everything—small clubs, large arenas, costumes, flames. You name it, I’ve seen it. Well, that premise was turned on its head on Tuesday night when I covered my first Flaming Lips show. I was told walking in there was no opener, I’d get to shoot the first 6 songs, and to be ready for, well, the unexpected. Little did I know that this show would be more than just a bit unexpected, it was flat out wild.

Opening with “Sagittarius Silver Announcement,” lead vocalist Wayne Coyne kicked off The Flaming Lips’ set inside an 8’ transparent ball. Fans against the rail went absolutely crazy as he crooned and swooned to the beat while massive cannons blasted confetti into a now rabid audience. Flanked by dual drummers Matt Duckworth Kirksey and Nicholas Ley (both with fluorescent green hair, I might add), Coyne mesmerized the crowd from inside of his ball as he launched into “Silver Trembling Hands.” The remainder of the band, including Steven Drozd (guitars), Derek Brown (keys), and Tommy McKenzie (bass), immediately kicked into overdrive and never looked back across a 21-song, two hour acid trip of sorts.

Throughout the show, fans from all walks of life were captivated by a non-stop barrage of visual insanity including a 20’ inflatable robot, an incredible video wall, strobes, and lasers that seemed to emanate from every corner of the stage. Watching The Flaming Lips perform as one cohesive group was challenging to say the least, but if you really paid attention, you would have noticed that their stage presence and music ability was second to none. And the fans—wow. They were completely dialed in from the start and didn’t let up until “Race for the Prize” was in the books as the show came to a dramatic (and unfortunate) end.

When the dust finally settled, I wiped the sweat from my brow as I walked out (but I couldn’t get the smile off my face). My first The Flaming Lips show was now in the books. It was everything I didn’t expect walking in and a whole lot more. This was not a concert, but a true musical spectacle for the ages that captivated fans from the get-go and never let up. I’d highly recommend seeing these cats live when you can, it was an 11 out of 10 performance—and one not to be missed under any circumstances.

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