The Flaming Lips @ Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NYC, June 8, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips @ Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NYC, June 8, 2023,

Jun 12, 2023 Photography by Matthew Berlyant Web Exclusive
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In the summer of 2002, The Flaming Lips released Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, their seventh studio album. It went gold in 2006 (the only Flaming Lips to do so) and remains their most popular and enduring work. Released to massive critical acclaim, especially in the UK, the record significantly broadened their audience and contains some of their most-loved songs, most notably “Do You Realize?” All that said, this show commemorated the 20th anniversary of the album’s release and as such, the album was played in full during the first set. While there were no real surprises musically, the band was fantastic, and the crowd enthusiastically and rapturously sang along. At times, it was more akin to a religious experience than a concert, as the energy of being in a beautiful, elegant, historic theater surrounded by others also singing along was contagious through the evening. Confetti cannons were fired, beach balls thrown out into the crowd, and yes, singer Wayne Coyne did sing in a bubble for some of the set, too. And while the Lips have pulled off this shtick in their live shows for quite some time now, it never fails to impress and entertain.

But that’s not all folks. After a short break, the band came back out for a nine-songs second set encompassing their back catalog along with a totally reworked cover of Madonna’s “Borderline” (from their 2009 collaboration with Stardeath and White Dwarfs) that had everyone singing along as well. For this writer, the other highlight of the second set was “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate” from 1999’s The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi’s predecessor and arguably one of their greatest works and the record that really set the stage for their 21st century career ascension. That isn’t to say that those were the only highlights, though. Far from it! During “Assassins of Youth,” (from 2020’s incredible, perhaps even career-best American Head) there was some sort of incident in the crowd and Coyne stopped the show to make sure everyone was OK. Thankfully, all was good, and it’s emblematic of how much Coyne cares about his audience, thanking us profusely throughout the evening and giving off an aura of gratitude that stuck with us long after the night was over. They also nodded to their pre-Soft Bulletin days by playing “She Don’t Use Jelly,” their left-field hit (a U.S. #55 that even led to them appearing on Beverly Hills 90210) from 1993’s Transmissions from the Satellite Heart.

And if all that wasn’t enough, they came back out for an encore with two of the three songs being from The Soft Bulletin with “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton” being one of the highlights of the entire evening. As The Four Seasons sang in 1975, “Oh what a night!”


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