Friday, September 18, 2009

They don't use jelly

Call it an unofficial end to the summer. An outdoor concert by The Flaming Lips seemed like a good way to cap a sort of rough week and say goodbye to summer. The show didn't achieve what I'd hoped, mainly out of the huge similarities to what I'd seen two previous times in the past six years and a somewhat obnoxious fan base where I stood.

These days one of the benefits of indoor concerts here is the smoking ban. That isn't in effect for outdoor performances, and with this crowd in particular, that meant plenty of puffing of the legal and illegal variety. Having smoke blown in my face for a few hours isn't what I'd call my idea of a good time. (Moving isn't really an option when there's barely enough room to lift one's arms up without hitting anyone.)

The headlining act's performance was fine, although the lead singer has a bad habit of wasting time by imploring the audience to sing along, yell, etc. and flattering those in attendance. Yeah, yeah, yeah, get on with it. I'm here for the songs, not stage banter that's almost identical to what I last heard three years ago. (For that matter, the setlist could use some freshening. I don't know, how about playing more than two selections from the double album coming out next month?)

All right, I'm sounding more negative than I felt about the concert. The Flaming Lips try to maintain a fun vibe with streamers, confetti, lasers, and a giant hamster ball fit for a lead singer, and they generally succeeded. Tonight's show just seemed awfully familiar--because it was--and the crowd-generated smoke, not to mention the pushing and yelling, made it a bit of an ordeal.

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