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The Flaming Lips Light Up SummerStage

July 27th, 2010

The Flaming Lips – SummerStage – July 26, 2010

The Flaming Lips - SummerStage - July 26, 2010
Earlier this year Wayne Coyne, frontman and face of the Flaming Lips, turned 49. For lesser musicians and performers, the late 40s mark artistic decline and looming retirement. However, for Coyne, aging is simply an opportunity to express bold new ideas, bolstered by the credibility of psychedelic rock’s premier band. Last year the Flaming Lips released Embryonic, a double album sprawling with bizarre imagery and extended psychedelic meditations. While the album fit comfortably in the band’s sizable discography, spanning 12 studio albums, it also came as a surprise. Embryonic, ironically, finds the Flaming Lips pushing forward rather than retreating into the comforts of their definitive style. Similarly, on a tepid Monday night at Central Park SummerStage, Coyne and the rest of the band displayed their boundless energy, presenting a live show unlike any other current group.

The entire performance unraveled as a life-affirming experience with “songs about optimistic ways of life.” This mantra began with Coyne descending into the crowd in a giant bubble. OK, maybe that wasn’t original for the Flaming Lips. However, over the course of their two-hour set spanning the group’s choice tracks, Coyne brought out new tricks such as a light-triggered gong, an audience sing-along for Embryonic’s “I Can Be a Frog” and a music visualization that would make iTunes jealous. Additionally, long-time fans gained their rewards from Transmissions from the Satellite Heart’s hit “She Don’t Use Jelly,” while more recent admirers got to sing along with “Do You Realize??” and the politically charged “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.” So, though Coyne and the rest of the Flaming Lips are quickly aging toward AARP membership, their penchant for engaging live shows progresses and thrives. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com