The Flaming Lips Host Trial Run Of Bubble Show At OKC’s Criterion
Scott Booker – The Flaming Lips
perform a trial run of their bubble show at The Criterion in Oklahoma City.
The need for social distancing during the pandemic has led to a lot of innovation within the concert industry, from livestreaming to drive-in shows. For The Flaming Lips, individual bubbles for audience members seems like the only obvious choice.
After all, frontman Wayne Coyne has been crowd surfing over fans in his own bubble for more than 15 years so it was only natural that COVID-19 would inspire the band to get bubbles for the other members of the band, as well as fans.
The Lips showed off the concept during its June 11 appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and this week the band did a trial run of a full-fledged bubble show at the 3,500-capacity The Criterion in their hometown of Oklahoma City.
Coyne shared a short video on Instagram Tuesday featuring the frontman performing on top of a sea of bubbled fans with a post captioned, “Yessss!!! Last night at @criterionokc !!! Thank you ????????????????????????”
Derek Brown of Hellfire Enterprises management company, who has also recorded and performed live with The Flaming Lips since 2009, told Pollstar the band filmed a couple music videos during Monday’s trial run and said they were joined by “just short of 100 volunteers.”
Vice interviewed a fan who was in the audience during the trial run, which featured two songs from the band’s latest album, American Head.
“I can’t give a full idea of what it would be like for an entire concert because this was only two songs, which they played twice,” Dayzie Smith told Vice. “But the bubble was so big that it wasn’t really claustrophobic at all. It was almost that you had too much room. You wanted to put all your limbs up, like be a square and roll around in it.”
As for the sound inside the bubble, Smith said “it sounded a little distorted or kind of underwater, but not too much but enough to notice. I mean, with it being the Flaming Lips it would make sense for their music.”
Earlier in the month Coyne took part in interviews with JamBase and Brooklyn Vegan where he discussed the Lips’ possible plans for bubble shows.
“We’re starting to get ready to do an actual show where yeah, there’s three people in each of these space bubbles, and we play… We think maybe playing two shows a night, and getting a big audience in there each time,” Coyne told Brooklyn Vegan.
He told JamBase the band was brainstorming how to safely get fans in and out of the bubbles to prevent becoming a super spreader event. He noted that the venue was giving the band “a few weeks in this venue to figure it out. We’re thinking this will probably happen after the election.”
Coyne first debuted his signature space bubble during the Lips’ 2004 appearance at Coachella. The O.C. Register included the performance in its 2016 round-up of 10 Big Moments From Coachella, describing it as “The Flaming Lips and the human hamster ball.”
The Lips also brought the ball to its 2009 performance at Earth Day on the National Mall, which was featured on the cover of Pollstar in April in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.