As expected, nothing went as expected.
With opening remarks regarding love and beingness, a pink-robot-festooned crown perched atop a crimson clad Wayne Coyne, offered a beautifully microcosmic example of what was to come: a stage-filling pink robot for the crowd to project their songs upon.
This whole thing wasn’t about the musicians or the visual effects, Coyne proclaimed, but about the people in the audience, interacting and having a kick ass time. The Flaming Lips were there simply as support for the party, which broke out considerably with a torrent of confetti and huge balloons that followed a giant silvery balloon-letter “Fuck Yeah Eugene” into the masses.
Above the stage hung long strings of lights, like a net full of electric eels and frenzied lanternfish. Upon the stage, The Flaming Lips ripped into music full of vigor and bass, precision and exploration.
They started with fan favorites “Race for the Prize,” a lovely sing-along “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and “Fight Test,” with Coyne’s humongous hands beaming lasers which reflected off the giant disco ball spinning lights around a theater thick with stage fog.
What followed was a seemingly endless series of inflatable characters and props and flashes and loud, wild music and cheers and rousing applause for each new element of psychedelic paraphenalia ranging from enormous bloodshot eyeballs to a carousel unicorn, ridden through the audience by a rainbow-winged (inflatable of course) Coyne who threw handfuls of purple confetti to the people, tempting them like the Pied Piper of Outer Space.
That was the setup for a song called “The Captain,” played for only the second time live, and a perfect cover of the David Bowie classic “Space Oddity.”
Otherwise I found it to be much like a swirling aesthetic hallucination which bridged popular culture, politics, and humanism and left me bright-eyed and excited about a world in which artists like this exist and succeed.
Finally, a gorgeous under-the-rainbow (inflatable) encore of “Do You Realize?” really finished the night perfectly.