Flaming Lips in Salida : Friday

edited August 2015 in Arts

OP-ED Bill Donavan

This band has fun with the medium. They always have. Who climbs into a massive clear hampster ball to crowd surf? —and like Andy Kaufman's wrestling, it's hard to know what lead singer, Wayne Coyne, is thinking when he points at a crowd of thousands, and sings:

...It's a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want...
Because you cannot know yourself or what you'd really do......With all your power
What would you do?

But, that's the beauty of rock-n-roll. From The Sex Pistols Great Rock-n-Roll Swindle to The Talking Heads pop play time in the eighties, everyone partakes. You know you are a part of the joke, but when sold correctly, the hooks and winks make it go down easy. Like Cake covering Sabbath's War Pigs, people want to be all in, so they can let it all out. When The Flaming Lips hold up that mirror, and you are surrounded by screaming laughing people, you just have to laugh at the unapologetic spectacle of light and sound. Irony is for the morning after—especially when the venue looks like Red Rocks on steroids, with The Continental Divide and its numerous 14ers looming behind the stage.

Looking at the thousands of people singing the choruses, the various deer in the headlights looks of the volunteers and nods of the knowing Mumford fans (and special guests: "Every teenager in the valley denied an upbringing of cheap concert tickets, lasers and smoke," who somehow got in), it's no wonder someone was overheard saying "That was a mind blower. What more could you want out of a rock show?"

Having worn out the last few Lips albums, and forced their weirdness down our kids ears on countless road trips over the years, it was easy to get excited for a local performance. But, I could not have foreseen the silly madness represented by the pods of locals we stumbled across, dancing in the shadows, singing the anthems. It's all a mystery.

The air, temporarily void of residual smoke from western fires made everything more clear. The Who, sometimes accused of taking themselves too seriously, might have had a laugh at where we've landed. This morning, with town still standing, it all seemed worth it, if only for a moment.

With electric guitars fading into the summer night, the consumate rockers, Wayne in a white Who shirt, left the crowd chanting "love...love...love...love...love."

It's only rock n' roll, but I like it.


Not a fan yet? Start with Yoshimi, or The Soft Bulletin, and remember:

... life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

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