Thursday, August 27, 2009

Flaming Lips concert in Atlanta

Last night I experienced my second Flaming Lips concert -- this time at Chastain Park Amphitheater in Atlanta. The photo above gives a feel for what the atmosphere is like at a Flaming Lips show -- insane. And with tickets in the direct center of the third row, I was right in the thick of it all.

My friend Yancey joined me for the trip over to Atlanta. We hit some heavy rain on the way, so unfortunately we arrived a bit late and missed most of the opening performance by Stardeath & White Dwarfs. We did catch their last song, though -- a cover of Madonna's "Borderline."

Next up was the instrumental band Explosions in the Sky. I'd heard of them before and even listened to a few of their songs on their MySpace page, but seeing them live turned me into a fan. These guys were amazing. I only wish I'd kept my video recorder running a couple more minutes (there was a lull in the song, and I thought it was finished, but they unleashed a fervor of splendid noise a few moments after I hit the stop button).

Before The Flaming Lips took the stage, lead singer Wayne Coyne came out to address the audience. He explained that in order to make possible his usual walk across the heads and hands of the crowd inside his "space bubble," we'd need to cram as many people as possible into the center asile. Luckily, Yancey and I were already right there.

A few minutes later, the show began, and each member of the band emerged from the center of a giant screen and took his place on stage. Wayne then appeared inside the space bubble, and after it inflated, he rolled right across our heads.

Upon Wayne's return to the stage, an army of costumed characters joined the ensemble, the band launched into "Race for the Prize," and a jubliant pandemonium ensued. Streamers launched into the air, confetti rained down, and dozens of huge balloons were tossed into the crowd to bounce up and down. It was fantastic.

I considering making the subtitle of the video something like: "Why my friends need to pay better attention on Facebook when I say things like, 'I'm ordering tickets for The Flaming Lips concert. Anybody interested in joining me?'" Several of my friends bemoaned the fact that they were missing out on the show before it took place. But, seriously, after watching these videos, you're jealous now too, aren't you? You don't have to be familiar with the music to have a good time at an event like this.

Instead of recording a large portion of the concert (like I did at City Stages), I opted instead to simply enjoy myself and soak up the atmosphere. However, I did pull out the Flip camera one more time to record one of Emily's favorites, "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song."

Emily was sad that she didn't get to go to the concert with me, but it was a school night (and as it turned out, considering our seats, she wouldn't have been able to see anyway). Yancey and I had a great time, though.

I must commend The Flaming Lips, not only for putting on such fun performances, but also for the general care they show their fans. When we bought our concert tickets, the band gave us three free MP3s of songs from their upcoming album and another three free MP3s of selected B-sides. When we left Chastain Park, they had people handing out concert posters to everyone (which would typically cost $10 or $20). Best of all, in a few days they'll be sending us a free downloadable recording of the entire concert so we can relive the experience again and again. That's a band that loves its fans. And we love them back.

Here's a slideshow of my photos from the concert.

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