The Flaming Lips - Pacific Amphitheatre - July 31, 2013
The Flaming Lips
By: Greggory Moore
There is this dumb picture you take at a Flaming Lips show, before you know better, before you figure out that it's stupid to pay attention to this tiny smartphone screen when there's all this incredible shit going on around you. I guess it's that you want to commemorate the trip you're on, and you pose with the stage as your backdrop. You're dumb, because a) the glorious stage comes out looking tiny and like crap, and b) when you face the stage, the bombardment of color bathing your face would have been cool, dipshit.
Doesn't matter, because it was all about immersion in the moment, the thing that makes a Flaming Lips concert an experience.
But it's fair to say the Flaming Lips experience at the Pacific Amphitheater Wednesday (ticket got you free Orange County Fair admission--and a ride afterward on the kick-ass Ferris wheel!) was less of one than usual, shorter and tamer than what devotees have come to expect. Hey, when you raise the bar as high as dancing rabbits, sequences from Battle Royale and strange Japanese gameshows, and spacetime-portal-bending doorways, some days you're only way forward is under.
There was still trip-py stage lighting and lasers, lots of glitter and confetti, and Wayne telling us how much the band loved us. But there was nary a beachball in sight, and what few video projections there were had a "seen it before" feel for Flaming Lips-concertgoing veterans. It didn't help that the setlist was both quite short (a dozen songs, at most) and rarely included anything that was upbeat all the way through.