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Live Review: The Flaming Lips

11 January 2016 | 10:32 am | Bryget Chrisfield

"A massive foil balloon spelling out "Fuck Yeah Melbourne" then joins the fun and we immediately feel sorry for those seated in the balcony."

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While we sit and wonder how Wayne Coyne is gonna negotiate his giant bubble over a crowd that's in designated seats, The Flaming Lips frontman wanders onstage to get a sneak preview of his audience. In turn we score an advance look at his outfit that basically features some kind of codpiece decorated with multi-coloured fluorescent pom poms, which recur on his shoes and back pockets. After he leaves the stage we behold what looks like rows of Silly String tumbling from the theatre's downstage fly system. The house lights dim. Silly String illuminates into multi-coloured, moving fairy lights. Confetti cannons detonate, giant bouncy balls are released for us to volley around and this all occurs during the band's opener, The Abandoned Hospital Ship.

A massive foil balloon spelling out "Fuck Yeah Melbourne" then joins the fun and we immediately feel sorry for those seated in the balcony. As does Coyne, who says he hopes his band excites them enough to coax seated peeps to their feet despite the venue's "no standing" policy in the balcony's front four rows. Giant inflatable creatures are ushered in and off stage throughout the night and these include aliens, a sun, star, very disoriented catfish and even an out-of-season Santa. She Don't Use Jelly inspires a voracious sing along. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt 1 maintains the mirth and this experience truly is good for the soul.

Coyne clutches at a bunch of silver tinsel like a demented cheerleader. "We tried to get giant wallaby suits but they were all a bit too cute," he tells before expressing his genuine love for fellow glitter-lover Miley Cyrus. The Flaming Lips then perform Cyrus's Evil Is But A Shadow. Afterwards, Coyne dissects this song's lyrics: "evil is just this little muthafucker." He stresses that we can always successfully fight evil with love. After Spoonful Weighs A Ton, Coyne promises that if we chant "Love" along with the pulsating word on the backdrop for long enough we might earn ourselves one more song. The leave they stage. We chant. It works! And we're aptly rewarded when The Flaming Lips return to the stage to present Do You Realize??, which would elevate the saddest wretch. Punters invade the aisles and this venue's famously officious security doesn't even attempt to shepherd them back to their seats, which speaks volumes.

(Side note: There really is no stranger sensation than being hit on the head with a giant balloon in the darkness.)

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