I had a dream last night that I went to the Tate Modern to see The Weather Project on the last day and they were deflating the sun.
Last night we went to see The Flaming Lips at the Hammersmith Apollo (which is where we saw Sigur Rós). I like that venue, it's medium-sized and without seats it fits 5,000 people. Max bought me the ticket as part of my birthday present because Goldfrapp was sold out immediately. So while The Flaming Lips weren't our first choice we still enjoy their music and we both agreed that this was one of the funnest gigs we've ever been to.
There seems to be some kind of Hammersmith curse on my camera, because when we saw Sigur Rós all of the photos I took were mysteriously erased. This time around my batteries died. I warmed the batteries in my hands so I was able to squeeze out a few photos for every song with the remaining juice (which resulted in some strange looking photos).
There were two opening acts. The first was Steve Burns from Booklyn, NY. The best part of their performance was their video entitled "Are you reasonably ready to rock?", which stated, "throw your hands in the air and wave them as if you are moderately concerned." They sang about unified field theory and nanotechnology. During one song the lead singer played a video he took of the The Weather Project at the Tate Modern, hence the dream.
The second band was Alfie from Manchester. I recognized the lead singer because he pushed past me at the front door as we were entering. He seemed to be a bit of a wanker, but I enjoyed a few of their songs and his Ian Brown-stylee monkey dance (they're both from Manchester, coincidence?) The best video they played was a montage of old Atari games.
Finally The Flaming Lips were up. There was an entourage on stage of people in furry animal suits and two inflatable suns - all were dancing. (I wondered if anyone ever passed out in those hot animal suits, I guess they do.) The lead singer, Wayne Coyne, was in his usual blood-covered white suit like some kind of messiah figure. He said that this was the largest dedicated crowd they had ever played for and he was clearly stoked. They released giant balloons into the crowd.
At one point Wayne spoke of their US tour and their concert in California a month ago, mentioning Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming governor, at which the audience booed loudly. He then mentioned George W. Bush, which elicited an even louder boo. Tony Blair received the loudest boo of all. He apologized for his country and seemed near tears while pleading with the audience to help put a stop to the damage both governments are doing and then he laughed, saying, "Here I am giving a serious political speech and then we give you all balloons."
They played most of my favorite songs from their last two albums, some from their extensive back catalogue, plus a few I hadn't heard before such as a cover of The White Stripe's Seven Nation Army sung through a megaphone and a track they cut with the Chemical Brothers. It was a surreal, enjoyable, and uplifting evening.. they put on a fantastic live show and I would definitely see them again.
the chemical brothers (feat. flaming lips) - the golden path.mp3
The Flaming Lips video library.
"All that heaven and hell stuff sounds like fun. But come on, be serious - nothing happens after you die. When you turn off the toaster, it doesn't sit there longing to make more toast, it doesn't become the ghost of a toaster. When the spark of life is gone, we're just a sack of flesh and chemicals with no ignition. That's why I live life with such enthusiasm." - Wayne Coyne
It's moving, a trip we're taking up north in early Dec., friends visiting, christmas, and trying to retain enough money to accommodate all of this. ;)
I'll probably to miss a few concerts I've been wanting to go to in the next few months. At least I saw the Finisterre film and Sarah, that's something at least.
Is that toaster quote from the Observer interview with Wayne Coyne? I love those "This Much I Know" columns - 99% of the ones I've seen have been incredibly enlightening, real gems of life philosophy in there (other than the Ray Liotta one - he came across as somebody who has grown old without really learning very much). They pack so much more into so much less space than absolutely any form of interview I've ever seen anywhere else. I always wonder quite how they elicit the encapsulated gems of wisdom.
And the Wayne Coyne one was a gem among gems, he comes across as such a lovely, intelligent, down-to-earth guy. I'm not a huge fan of The Flaming Lips (don't dislike them, just not particularly excited by them - perhaps I just need to give them more time), but from everything that I've read, as individuals they rock.
I had actually planned to post that toaster quote on my own blog when I read it. Thanks for reminding me.
Yes, the quote is from the Observer interview. I think Wayne Coyne's was one of the best interviews I've seen in that column.
I always liked The Flaming Lip's music, but I was never a huge fan. Seeing them perform live and listening to Coyne speak has given me a greater appreciation for them as individuals and for their music. I think he is an incredible, caring man with - as he says - much enthusiasm for life. His philosophy and just plain sillyness really appeals to me.
I think my favorite part of the concert was during the song Do You Realize?, with the depressing line "do you realize that everyone you know someday will die? and yet it was the song performed with the most happy enthusiasm and fanfare. One reason why that toaster quote made me smile.