Let me begin by saying that the first time I listened to The Flaming Lips was in grade nine. I think a few of us were going through a psychedelic rock discovery phase where we dove into the 70s and 80s. When the band announced their Montreal show, I knew I had to be there, even after years without having heard their music.
The Flaming Lips have such a flamboyant way of doing things, whether it is in their lyrics, production, stage accessories and so much more…they hold an unexplainable intrigue to them. It's the unimaginable and unexpected that has granted The Flaming Lips to tour their timeless discography. In a joyful crowd at Montreal’s MTELUS is where your parents might’ve been that night, as well as a few 6 year olds, which was odd but kind of nice. The colourful show was truly a family affair.
One thing that often goes unnoticed to many but is something that catches my attention every time; the pre-show playlist. I believe that the band decides what is played beforehand to get the crowd in the mood for the next few hours. It surprised me when artists like Cardi B, Brockhampton and Post Malone were being played through the speakers in the venue. It's an obvious genre clash but a smart choice. That popular music is what get’s people going no matter where they are.
The band took the stage around 9, kicking it off strong with confetti canons, gigantic colourful balloons and aluminum balloons that spelt out Fuck Yeah Montreal. I doubt anyone had ever seen such an overwhelming opening at the MTELUS. The following songs each had their own flare of excitement and accessories. A huge pink robot was blown up, where Wayne Coyne stood in-between its legs to sing. A personal favourite of mine was when Wayne put on these huge hands with lasers shooting out of them. It was such a dramatic moment as he turned to point the lasers at the disco ball to reflect the lights allover the venue. There was so much attention to detail and precision throughout the whole set. We’re not used to seeing such a big production in this kind of venue, it definitely left many people, including myself, in ‘awe’ the whole time.
So much happened in the span of 17 songs that some of it needs to be left for your own eyes to see. Visuals were flowing on the led screens in coordination with the lyrics and instruments of each song. Coyne wore rainbow wings as he rode on a unicorn (maybe it was just a horse) in the crowd while singing and throwing confetti. They simulated stars as Wayne went into a human hamster ball to cover David Bowie's classic, Space Oddity. Everything about their set up was about creating a mystical atmosphere, something to keep you dreaming.
The Flaming Lips is what you’d imagine Gene and Mr. Fischoeder from Bob’s Burgers would be if they started a band. That concert was filled with so much happiness from everyone. It's one of those things you didn't think you needed but then it happens and you're just so grateful to have witnessed those legends. If I would’ve recorded the man behind me during the show, this review would’ve been a loop audio recording of him saying “GENIUS. FUCKING GENIUS!”
All photos shot by Coralie Daigneault