The rest of the evening rolled on in a dream-like state, with the band playing fan favorited tracks like ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1’, ‘At the Movies on Ludes’, ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’, ‘Race For The Prize’ and more. The Flaming Lips will always remain forever high on our list of recommendations for a gratitude inducing, euphoric musical experience.
No matter how many times you’ve seen the Flaming Lips, there is no argument that they put on one of the greatest shows of all time – from their momentous stage production and eccentric creative art direction to their consistent and explosive live performances, there isn’t a comparison that measures up. Pushing musical limits and breaking ground since forming in 1983, the Flaming Lips have conditioned their fanbase to expect the unexpected, but even Portland had no idea what the evening would soon have in store. As one of the last remaining spring loaded dance floors in North America, the historic Crystal Ballroom couldn’t have been a more perfect fit. Matched with a legendary headliner such as the Flaming Lips, attendees had no complaints braving the cold for the bands’ twice rescheduled show due to cancellations earlier in the year. November 15th was filled with special collaborations, setlist favorites and surreal, surprise moments – but we’ll get to that a bit later.
Performance highlights began almost immediately with credit to opening band Particle Kid, composed of Micah Nelson and performing musicians Aroyn Day and Milo Gonzalez. Delivering their unique style of rock n’ roll distortion to the crowded Ballroom, the group welcomed FL’s Steven Drozd to the stage for a cover of Radioheads’ ‘Pyramid Song’, soon ending their set with a flair of thrash and human contortion.
During the Flaming Lips, fans were treated to a live appearance on ‘Red Right Hand’, from Nell Smith, a young fan that has recently recorded a full length album with the band, as well as Particle Kid’s Micah Nelson playing guitar on ‘Will You Return’. Little did concert goers know that there was a once in a lifetime memorial in store – the final wishes of a Flaming Lips fan named Maggie, was fulfilled during ‘Do You Realize??’, one of the bands’ most beloved songs. As lead singer Wayne Coyne told the story of the fans’ dedication to her love of live music and expressed her final wishes to be spread into her favorite places, the bands’ signature confetti cannons exploded, scattering plumes of rainbow streamers intermingled with Maggie’s ashes over the crowd.
This bizarre yet blissed out, spiritual moment would have been out of place anywhere else, but at a Flaming Lips show, it felt strangely appropriate. Even now the thought of reminiscing brings goosebumps to my skin. The rest of the evening rolled on in a dream-like state, with the band playing fan favorited tracks like ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1’, ‘At the Movies on Ludes’, ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’, ‘Race For The Prize’ and more. The Flaming Lips will always remain forever high on our list of recommendations for a gratitude inducing, euphoric musical experience.
2023 Flaming Lips dates were recently announced – check out their official website for details.
Photo gallery by Taishona Carpenter.