TVD Live Shots:
The Flaming Lips at
the Warfield, 12/30

Photographed by Jason Miller-3

The first time I saw The Flaming Lips live was back in 1999 while working at a record store in my hometown of St. Louis, MO. The local Warner Brothers rep gave me tickets to see the band at a club called Karma during the tour for their seminal masterpiece The Soft Bulletin. Since the album had so many intricate layers to it, the band knew they would have trouble pulling it off live so they created a radio station per se that would transmit a direct signal of the show to the audience through a pair of custom headphones that were given out at the door. How fucking crazy is that?

Fast forward to last week and it’s New Year’s Eve with The Flaming Lips. Wayne Coyne and company are still pushing the limits of technology for their live shows but these days they have no budget restraints or limits for pulling off one of the most amazing spectacles touring the planet right now. It’s part Cirque du Soleil, part Super Mario Brothers, but all together one of the best shows I have ever seen in my life—and a photographer’s dream.

Touring in support of their new album With a Little Help from My Fwends, it’s the Lips’ fourteenth studio release and a track-for-track tribute to The Beatles classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The entire record is reimagined by The Flaming Lips and their special guests including My Morning Jacket, Maynard James Keenan, Foxygen, Grace Potter, and even Miley Cyrus just to name a few. The setlist that night would include the title track “Sgt. Pepper” along with a spaced out version of “A Day in the Life.”

These guys also dug deep in their almost 30 year deep catalog for some rarities that included “Evil Will Prevail,” “Lightning Strikes the Postman,” and “Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus with Needles.”

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Other highlights from the set included the fan favorites “Yoshimi” and a mesmerizing encore of “Do You Realize.” This was one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen by one of the most important, innovative, and imaginative bands of my generation. One can only think to compare them to such visionaries as The Beach Boys, The Velvet Underground, and Pink Floyd, but even those comparisons get old after a while.

Celebrate this band, their vast catalog of epic weirdness, and the delicate genius that is Wayne Coyne as this type of artist only comes along once in a lifetime.

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With a Little Help from My Fwends is available now and all proceeds from record sales will go to The Bella Foundation, an organization in Oklahoma City that helps provide veterinary care to needy pet owners.

Check out hi res photos from the show in the gallery here.

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