The Flaming Lips Unleash a Cosmic Explosion

The Flaming Lips treated fans to a night full of crowd favorites and a dazzling light show.

The Flaming Lips light up Wellmont Theater.

Stage lights
© Petr Jilek | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The Wellmont Theater was packed from wall to wall for The Flaming Lips’s appearance in Montclair. There was a wide range of fans in attendance, from seasoned devotees to teens that have been around for less time than the group has been in existence. Wayne Coyne, the band’s frontman, delivered an entertaining show with his signature eccentricity that engaged the crowd. The Lips’s dazzling performance was well-rounded, full of excellent music and crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Juliana Barwick was the opening act for the night. Unfortunately, Barwick had a rocky start to her performance. There were some technical issues that forced her to start her opening song over. Barwick took this incident in stride. “Well that does not sound right,” she said in front of the packed audience that welcomed her acknowledgment.

The essence of Barwick’s one-woman, ethereal show is based on intertwining technology with her voice. Barwick twists and loops her voice with an electronic, alien, soothing sound. The stage background featured a scene of rippling, serene waves that could easily transfer the audience to an otherworldly daze. Her approach to music is definitively unique and not for everyone.

When the The Flaming Lips finally took the stage, the audience was treated to a full Spanish introduction. The Lips expressed their gratitude to be playing and shared the terrible news that a supernova was about to explode, and everyone would die soon. The lucky fans that were able to understand the message knew what kind of night was in store for them. With a jolt of red and blue light, a heartbeat started to throb in the background. The stage came to life as the glowing lights started to flow on the shiny balls that resembled aliens’s eyes looking back at the audience. The Lips opened up with the appropriate: “Look… The sun is rising,” as fans cheered away.

The Flaming Lips featured old favorites such as “Do You Realize,” “Race for the Prize” and even covered “Heroes,” a song by David Bowie. The band also performed the melancholic song “The Terror” from the new album of the same name.

Throughout the show, Coyne used a search light to connect to the audience and even gave a shout out to the packed balcony. The background screen changed according to the songs; at times it included the psychedelic image of flowing rainbows and a naked woman.

Bands usually wait until the end of their performance to bathe the audience in a sea of confetti. Not The Flaming Lips. Halfway through their set, a copious amount of confetti rained upon the gleeful audience.  Coyne cradled a baby doll all throughout the first few songs. The lead singer would put the baby down by his feet and then pick it back up as if trying to soothe it. The baby doll was first introduced at the SXSW festival earlier this year.

The Flaming Lips closed the show with two encore songs. They include “All We Have is Now” and “Always There, In Our Hearts.” The heartfelt sci-fi performance, alongside the evocative showmanship of Coyne and well-crafted songs, was sure to satisfy the most die-hard Flaming Lips fans at this show.

Ken Whang from Harrison, N.J. was thrilled to see The Lips in concert. “As a life-long fan, it’s always great to see them continue to push the boundaries of psychedelic rock,” he said. Whang explained how The Lips performances are second to none. “There are so many ‘wow this is amazing’ moments that you don’t even need mind-altering substances to enjoy it.”

The Flaming Lips are in the midst of their 2013 tour which will conclude in October. After their New Jersey performance, The Lips are headed to The Great GoogaMooga in Brooklyn on May 17. Then they are set to perform across the pond in England.

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