The first time I ever remember listening to The Flaming Lips, and knowing who they were, was about seven years ago. I was at work and I was feeling really down about something or other. Charles and I hadn't been dating long, and he could see how sad I was, so he sent me a link to a song.
It was "Do You Realize" by The Flaming Lips, and when I heard the first line (Do you realize...that you have...the most...beautiful face...) I burst into tears. And by the end of the song, I felt better.
Thus began a love affair with one of the freakiest, quirkiest, funniest bands I know. Charles and I have watched documentaries about them, listened to our favorite album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (no, I'm not making that up...), and enjoyed them for years.
So when we heard they were coming here? To Charleston? Yeah, we got tickets.
The show was last night, four days before Halloween, and all of Charleston's freakiest showed up in costume (I lamented the fact that I'd forgotten my tutu many times...but that may have been the wine talking....Charles and I tailgated with our standard wine, cheese, beer and brownies.). The were plenty of scantily clad women, men in drag, and even a really good rendition of Hunter S. Thompson. People watching was spectacular.
And then came...the show itself. Which was really more spectacle than rock-n-roll show, although there was plenty of good music too.
The Flaming Lips love beautiful women. Let that be understood from the get-go. As soon as Wayne Coyne, the band's lead man, was done warming up the crowd, the screen at the back of the stage started flashing with a 60's-tinted, psychedelic video of a naked woman dancing. Ok, I thought. So THIS is how it's gonna be, huh? Then she lay down, spread her legs, and the band's grand entry onto the stage was literally through her...yeah...I'm blushing...it was through her vagina, ok?? Like she was giving birth to the band.
Wayne Coyne then did a bit of crowd surfing in a bubble. So THAT happened, too. It was surreal.
And then the music started. And there was confetti. And there were balloons. And girls dancing on stage in skimpy outfits.
I made it my goal to finally get to participate in the balloon-batting. I was surrounded by taller men, so they kept getting to the balloons first. They'd sail close, closer, and I'd think, OK, it's my turn now! But then...one of the tall guys would hit it first. And I'd be left disappointed, my hands hanging in the air, abandoned.
Then it happened. A red balloon flew overhead, unnoticed by the boys. It flew closer, I jumped up, hands outstretched...and punched it way high into the air!! Hooray!
And the band played on. Women danced on stage. Wayne Coyne cursed at the crowd in a loving, caressing way. We screamed and danced and sang.
Then came the laser light show.
And finally, when I was danced out and exhausted and my head was spinning from the amount of smoke around me (smoke machines and weed were everywhere!)....they played it. They played my song.
Here's a video of the opening to "Do You Realize." I could only record the beginning, because, well, then I had to go dance my face off. It was beautiful. I loved it.
I loved the whole motherfucking thing.