Last night I went to a free Flaming Lips concert. I have to acknowledge Southern Comfort for providing the free music, and for sharing the lime SoCo smoothies. Thanks for bringing me back to freshman year where Watson (my dorm) 707’s official drink was SoCo and Lemonade. “It tastes like bubble-gum!” Sorry, back to the music.

Not too familiar with the Flaming Lips, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I imagined heavy, horror-filled music to match the band’s name. The music, however, bordered on ignorant blissful sounds, and I was pleasantly surprised. The multi-layered, ethereal songs elated the stoned masses. Though most songs began with an intense, dark groove, Wayne Coyne’s bright vocals superseded the bottom. By the end of each song, Coyne’s inimitably happy voice had transformed any residual gloom into a frolicsome playground. His high voice also confused my concert companions as they thought he was imitating the Pillsbury Doughboy when he thanked the crowd at the end of every song.

Overall, the band played well, but the audience was less than enthusiastic. This could have resulted from inebriation and overexposure to the sun as the day’s events started at 2PM. Coyne coaxed the audience into a couple of sing-a-longs, but he could not sustain the crowd’s energy throughout. The mostly lackluster crowd and lack of drunkenness on my part probably influenced my opinion, as I don’t plan to buy any CDs. Don’t mistake my view as dislike of the band or the concert in general, however. I had fun, and the music was interesting. Frequently, bands draw energy from the crowd, and the music can suffer when a crowd isn’t excited. An energetic crowd would have enhanced this show. If the band comes through town again, I’d definitely see them. I just hope the crowd saves some brain cells for the main event next time.

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