The Flaming Lips, Hammersmith Apollo, London, November 2006
Ah, the Lips. Our first time to a headline show of theirs instead of festival appearance, so it was a chance to see how their carnival of freaks handled a large enclosed space. The result? Naturally, an A+ performance. One of the best aspects of confining all this flour, confetti madness inside was that there was no wind or weather to blow things away. When the band unleashed its torrents of streamers, confetti and large balloons, they hung around, and in the case of the balloons just bounced around on teh crowd. There was the roadies dressed as Marvel and DC superheroes. On the stage left were twenty aliens dancing, on stage right were twenty punters in Santa costumes. In the centre was Wayne Coyne, back from his opening number zorbing across teh crowd, now either wearing giant rubber hands or playing a siren through a bull-horn… then firing more confetti out some cyber-hippie blunderbuss contraption. That’s the great thing about the Flaming Lips - for hugely famous band, everything looks and feels so organic and hand-made. This isn’t from Industrial Light & Magic or Weta… it’s knocked up out the back in the grarage. The album At War With The Mystics was more political in a small way, well at least ‘The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song’ played into some fist pumping anti-Bush japes and the most bizarre anit-war puppetry act as Coyne flapped a big white dove puppet. The fans are a big part of the show - it’s as interactive as you'll get – I mean there are 40 people on stage the whole time, and they love it. This show they even dedicated ‘Do You Realise?’ to a fan who died recently and they found out had had it played at the funeral - I think it reiterated what the band always say the show is about. All up, it was fantastically mad again. And they topped it all off with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ again. Nuts. has to be a great gig when you basically say to each other on the way out, “When are they playing next?”. Song pick: the epic gig opening ‘Race For The Prize’.