by Jeff Hahne
The Flaming Lips w/ Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
The Fillmore Charlotte
May 17, 2011
The Deal: The Flaming Lips brings its on-stage party to a packed Fillmore for two hours of music and Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger in tow.
The Good: The night got started with a 30-minute set by Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. Fronted by Sean Lennon, the band's sonic delivery was a bit different than the last time they were in town. Instead of a duo performing mostly acoustically like they did at the Evening Muse earlier this year, the group was now a quintet with drums, electric guitar and more of a punch.
Lennon's vocals still led the way though the harmonies and moments of light came from his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl. The band ended with a feedback-fused stretch showing the diversity between songs and between shows. While the Muse show was a more intimate affair that showcased the songwriting and rhythms, this was more of a "we can be a full-on rock band, too," performance.
One of the lovable things about The Flaming Lips is their do-it-yourself ethic. The band was on stage shortly after GOASTT wrapped its set to make sure everything was set up properly and make any last minute adjustments. Sure, they have a road crew, but Wayne Coyne isn't afraid to shake hands and talk to the crowd before the show even starts. He briefly addressed the crowd letting them know he's be coming out in his "space ball" to roll over the crowd, asking for help to stay up and stay away from any poles.
Taking the stage to "The Fear," Coyne rolled around the crowd before heading back to the stage. His bandmates had previously entered through a door in the middle of a massive, arcing LED screen.
From there, the band started up "Worm Mountain" as dozens and dozens of balloons were launched into the crowd. From there, the party never really ended. Confetti sprayed the crowd, balloons were bounced and popped, eight dancing girls were dressed as Dorothy on each side of the stage for the duration of the band's two-hour set a tribute to the "Dark Side of the Moon" cover album they released and its legendary sync-up with "Wizard of Oz."
There were no Floyd covers to be found in the set, but plenty of others worth of sing-alongs including "She Don't Use Jelly" and "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1." Whether he was riding on the shoulders of a guy in a bear suit, playing guitar with a plastic ball covering his hand or shooting off confetti into the crowd, it's clear that Coyne loves every moment that he's on stage.
Of course, there was also time for him to play with a giant set of hands that had lasers on the palms, aiming them at a giant disco ball above the stage so they'd bounce around the room.
Along with one new song, the band also included "Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung," "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" and "The Ego's Last Stand."
Coyne even found time at the end of the night, in the middle of the two-song encore of "Race for the Prize" and "Do You Realize?" to address people in the crowd holding up a sign about the loss of their 23-year-old friend. Coyne noted that people should live in the moment and that the crowd of a Flaming Lips concert can always help when someone is feeling down and remember to enjoy life since we never know how long it will last. It was a heartfelt moment that touched the crowd and, no doubt, meant a lot to those with the sign who were in need the most at the time.
The Bad: Only that they don't come to town more often.
The Verdict: The Flaming Lips throw one hell of a party.