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Published on July 4th, 2018 | by Stacey McLaughlin

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Jazzfest Review: The Flaming Lips

Stacey reports on seeing The Flaming Lips at the Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, a magical show that brought music fans and casual concert goers together.

The Flaming Lips opened the 2018 Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival on the TD Mainstage in the Bessborough Gardens with a flurry of excitement, confetti cannons, a convoy of oversized balloons, and an explosion of bravado, positivity, and happiness that was undeniably infectious. ‘Race For the Prize’ from their 1999 album, ‘The Soft Bulletin, was just the anthem needed to kick off what ended up being a wild, wacky, very involving, but ultimately uplifting evening. At the end of the song, lead singer and visionary Wayne Coyne released a magnificent, silver mylar, “Fuck Yeah Saskatoon” balloon into the crowd; who by this time were completely hyped up, and proceeded to tear the balloon into its individual letters, which caused him to yell out jokingly something like, “Oh no, I wanted that back!”

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The over the top theatrics and pageantry continued when they brought on to the stage a giant inflatable giant anime robot for the song, ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1’ and urged the crowd not to just sing along, but scream and yell along, and make karate chop actions. Pretty fun. And scream, yell, and make karate chop actions along they sure did.

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Other notable moments included when Coyne came out on a big plastic horse while wearing inflatable rainbow wings for, ‘There Should Be Unicorns’ from their 2017 album, ‘Oczy Mlody.’ I agree, there should be unicorns, and they certainly wouldn’t have been out of place at this show.

Lights and lasers prominently throughout the night. Perhaps most notably during their song ‘How??’ again, from ‘Oczy Mlody,’ where they featured a stunning display of white spotlights and an array of lighting effects.

And just went you thought you’d seen everything, the band broke into a cover of David Bowie’s, ‘Space Odyssey,’ and Coyne went into what looked like a giant hamster ball and walked out into the crowd while inside it. I had wandered over to the side of the hill at that time, and I stood in disbelief with the people I was talking to, asking, is this actually happening? But it was, and it did, what a guy.

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After you’ve seen a man get into a giant hamster ball and walk on top of a crowd of people not much will surprise you. Including giant, human sized eye balls dancing on a stage, although that was a nice touch.

By now the sun had gone down, and the it was time for more confetti cannons. I had never seen more confetti in my life than I did when the band first opened, but as the band played ‘A Spoonful Weighs a Ton’ from ‘The Soft Bulletin’ we, the audience, were once again thoroughly coated in the most sparkly of confetti, and it was glorious. And you might think it would end there but no… from more light effects, including the overhead draping lights flashing words like “Yeah” and “No” and finally “Love” before the band exited the stage momentarily.

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The cries for an encore were heeded quickly, and ‘Fight Test’ from ‘Yoshimi’ was the first encore song, followed by a rather surreal electro version of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ which featured Coyne wearing giant prosthetic hands that shot multicoloured lasers from them. They closed with another song from Yoshimi, ‘Do You Realize??’ sung under their beloved giant inflatable rainbow. They then sent concert goers back out into the world happier, and possibly better people for having attended.

 

Photos by Adrien Begrand

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About the Author

Stacey McLaughlin

is a writer and photographer based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Her work can be seen at http://www.smcwrites.com



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