Concert Reviews

Review: The Flaming Lips and Primus at Red Rocks, 8/3/11

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While it might not have been the greatest show Red Rocks has ever seen, Coyne and company delivered a hell of a concert that was insanely intense at times and otherworldly at others, as Lips shows generally tend to be. The Lips don't just "play" shows; they're full-on visceral experiences. And band's take Dark Side of the Moon, which was interspersed with songs and video from The Wizard of Oz -- a movie that has been famously linked with the album -- was utterly surreal at times.

After the heartbeat thump of "Speak to Me" with visuals of a beating heart interspersed with Judy Garland's face as Dorothy flashed back forth to the beat on the LED screen behind the stage, the members of the band came out of a slit in the in the screen, as they did at their Red Rocks show two years ago on the Embryonic tour.

Shortly thereafter, Coyne stepped into his space bubble, and as it inflated, the band played what sounded like an instrumental version "Eclipse" from Dark Side of the Moon. Before the show, Coyne asked the audience to help him try to get to the middle of the venue in his space bubble, and the crowd happily complied, hoisting him up a good forty or fifty rows near the middle of the venue, before ushering him back down to the stage.

After Coyne made it back down to the stage, the Lips went into a glorious and over the top rendition of "Over the Rainbow," which had the sold-out throng chiming in on the chorus. Confetti was shot into the crowd. Among other Wizard of Oz nods, there were groups of gals on each side of the stage dressed up as Dorothy, along with a few guys dressed as other characters from the movie.

After a fairly faithful take on "Breathe," Steven Drozd did some far-out screaming during "On the Run." "Time" was pretty damn epic with heavy fog billowing from the stage and a huge clock with hands spinning fast on the LED screen. Later in the song, there were images of sunset while the fog was still heavy, almost evoking the acid-tripping scene in Apocalypse Now.

The thing about Lips shows is that while it's fun to take smoke a bunch of weed (there were massive amounts being smoked last night), eat mushrooms and drop acid during Lips concerts, the shows can sometimes be surreal enough to where you can experience similar effects being stone sober.

But with all the Wizard of Oz stuff going on and the psychedelic graphics being projected, a little extra push with some other substance would have undoubtedly pushed you into a completely bizarre place, especially when you hear Coyne singing "We're Off to See the Wizard." After "We're Off to See the Wizard," the Lips went into their instrumental laser interlude, where Coyne put on his giant hands that shot out green lasers while a mirror ball reflected laser beams all over the stage.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon