[Trash-talk] NGR: Flaming Lips/ Liz Phair

curtis slv0000 at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 14 06:40:55 PDT 2003

I got a chance to go see this show when I was in Dallas last week. First 
off, Wayne Coyne and the rest of the Lips are genius onstage. This 
wasn't the best concert I've ever seen, but it was the most 
entertaining, fun one. I went just to see Liz Phair and wasn't that 
familiar with anything except a little bit of Yoshimi Battles the Pink 
Robots but, after 6 1/2 hours of standing, sweating in the stagnant heat 
and then walking four blocks in a downpour back to my car, it was the 
Flaming Lips that had me smiling and feeling great about life. Liz who?

Before the show, Wayne would come out the back door periodically, in his 
white linen stage suit, to wave at the people in line and talk to 
whomever would come up to the barricade. During the opening act, 
Starlight Mints, he came out the sides of the stage to shake a balloon 
animal or toss out giant balloons for the crowd to bounce about 
overhead. Between sets he'd patrol the stage with a huge leaf blower, 
cooling the audience. Starlight Mints were a little reminiscent of 
Talking Heads.

Liz Phair was good, but disappointing at the same time. I'd heard she 
would be either solo, acoustic or stripped down. The latter certainly 
applied. She came out in fishnet hose, knee-high boots, black panties, 
purple t-shirt and a funky brown hat - puffy and droopy on top with a 
long brim in front - think 60's Carnaby Street. Introducing herself as 
"the musical interlude", she only played 6 or 7 short songs on Fender 
Jaguar, with Starlight Mints guitarist playing bass for her and a roadie 
(or maybe it was her famously young boyfriend) sitting on a chair 
playing acoustic. There was a real thrown together at the last minute 
feel to the set. A lot of people around me also came just to see her and 
were left wanting a lot more from the experience.

When the Lips came out, all but Wayne were in animal costumes. The 
guitarist as a pink elephant. The bassist was a zebra. There were 7 or 8 
extras (radio station employees and maybe fans) on each side of the 
stage dressed as giraffes, unicorns, bears, Santa Clause, etc. all 
dancing and waving high powered flashlights and balloon swords. The 
stage props were incredibly low-tech and produced a happy, innocent 
atmosphere. Hundreds of giant balloons, confetti, fake blood, robot 
blow-up dolls. Wayne swinging a hooded work light with a long tail of 
Christmas tinsel overhead, in Roger Daltry microphone style, batting at 
the balloons or skewering them with a nail taped to the headstock of his 
bizarre little acoustic guitar. Hundreds of giant homemade valentines 
were passed out into the crowd - colored, heart shaped paper with silly 
slogans written in Marks-a-lot such as "smile at at stranger" or "hey, 
hello hey". Mine said, "see you at the vitamin store". They used nothing 
the whole night that you couldn't buy at a hardware store or party 
supply shop. The only complex parts of the show were the music onstage 
and the synched video presentation throughout the set showing clips from 
early 60's Charles Bronson combat movies, 70's topless bikini girls 
kung-fu dancing, Teletubbies, and Japanese all girl action films or 
animations with plots resembling the Yoshimi songs.

It's too bad they're at the end of their tour. They play Bonnaroo today 
and then a few dates in Norway, Montreaux, UK and Ireland. I've never 
such a goofy, happy vibe at a show. The security guys were going up and 
down the aisles, collecting armloads of empty bottles and trash and 
disposing of them for fans. One of the biggest, meanest looking guys was 
even cradling one of the small, heart shaped balloons to his chest, 
swaying to the music. It was an evening full of strange sights.

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