The Flaming Lips at Kanrocksas

The Flaming Lips at Kanrocksas
Photo by Kiernan Maletsky

I stared into the expanse of the Flaming Lips. I bet if I were high or holding a loved one or something, I would say: I stared into the expanse of the universe. It's like that, as anyone who has seen the show can tell you.

You hear about the confetti, the bubble, the hands, the stage dancers in trippy costumes, etc, etc, etc. Less is said about the video montage that sends you rushing into the gaping mouth of predator after predator at warp speed, or the way Steven Drozd says "thank you" in a tiny voice after half the songs. And there's the music, of course - somewhat more languid than you might remember if you'd lain off for a while. It's even more languid live, everything extended into a sing-along jam, some kind of find-your-inner-child hypnotism.

Wayne Coyne is the greatest motivational front man in rock & roll. He spends shows doing truly insane things, whipping giant balloons over his head and spiraling around with a smoke machine and moving across the stage: like a newborn, like a spirit, like a raving lunatic. I do not know if it's in spite of this or because of it that he earns reverence.

For those keeping score (I was, with an almost mean-spirited interest), the Flaming Lips were the only band I saw today that actually said, "Kanrocksas" out loud. Arctic Monkeys said, "" Kid Cudi: "This place." Doomtree: "This festival." Major Lazer: "Kansas."

Coyne expresses, early in the show, some misgiving about his first experience at a NASCAR track. He thinks it will be OK as long as we're all here together, and he's totally right about that. Still, the guy standing next to me during the set didn't help, ramping into his heckling with a little dose of the obvious: "You guys ur a liddle weird." Then, gaining steam, straight into, "Fuck you! We beat you! The only thing you had between yur legs is Coors Light."

I...uh... have no idea what most of that means.

But forget it! There's confetti, and color, and outstretched arms and fuck that guy for hating fun. I am pretty sure Coyne would not condone hostility, even toward this tribal-tatted Midwesterner, but he did seem a little bit exasperated tonight. Just a little bit, and certainly not enough to dampen the general gleeful cacophony. But he spent a lot of time saying, "Come on, motherfuckers, come on!"

The Lips closed with "Do You Realize?"

"It's hard to make the good things last..."

The Flaming Lips at Kanrocksas
Photo by Kiernan Maletsky
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