Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Flaming Lips NYE Freakout 2009 - Oklahoma City

Happy New Year San Diego from Oklahoma City, the weirdest place on Earth!

It would be a gross understatement to say that I've had some tremendous and inexplicable luck this year, especially in meeting and working with some of the most amazing people. This last spring, I wrote about the time I had at the Gorge in Washington working with the Flaming Lips. I was thrilled when Chris, the Lips' longtime tour manager and FOH wizard, called to ask if I'd like to be a part of their New Year's extravaganza in their hometown. With an extensive world tour fast approaching for the Killers, I couldn't imagine a better way to send off 2008 and bring in 2009 than by working on a show totally unlike anything else in the world.

In addition to the already enormous stage setup which includes the massive UFO lighting rig and video wall not to mention the confetti and lasers etc., the Lips expanded their show for new year's by adding an extension to their video wall as well as the hundreds of balloons that you see in the video for their "ball drop." The crew had been in Oklahoma City for a full month already preparing and planning for this one show and there were so many things to do as soon as I arrived. Even with all the work to be done, I finally got to visit Wayne Coyne's famous compound in one of the sketchiest neighborhoods you've ever seen. The brown lawns, the porches full of unattended garbage, and the roaming dogs and $10 whores made for a weirdly fitting backdrop. It is a strange combination of wild west and bible belt out here.

Welcome to the future

Space Bubble Logistics

I can't say enough how refreshingly fun it is to work on a Flaming Lips show. The feeling of camaraderie allows for the Flaming Lips relatively young crew to take Wayne Coyne's vision and make it a spectacular reality regardless of the industry standard.

And the band is there for load-in.

Before it's a UFO, it's just truss

Chris's new monster board

Hanging Giant Balloons from the rafters

View from the UFO

Ready to Go!

In fact, Michael Ivins, the band's bassist, is the crew chief directing every move. No one works harder than the band and it guarantees that everyone is in it together to put on the best possible rock show. The bottom line is that this feeling comes across during the show where no member of the audience is left out of the fun. The good vibes are so encompassing it's impossible even for me, admittedly not the smiliest of people, not to smile during a Lips show. I think it's impossible not to have a good time when there's non-stop confetti, balloons, lasers, and psychedelic videos on top of the rock and roll. Even though the band is working all day on the stage, they still put on a crazy fucking rock show. They played some songs that have become staples in the Lips' set (Yoshimi, Race for the Prize, Yeah Yeah Yeah etc.) but also threw in some old favorites like the Spark that Bled and a cover of Purple Rain that I'm sure will be up on YouTube shortly.


I got to man one of the enormous confetti cannons this time around

Wayne's energy is contagious as is his graciousness. Even in a Space Bubble

Steven is one of the greatest rock musicians to have ever lived.

Kliph and I have something to relate to now (the whole being in the band-not being in the band thing)

Michael is very serious dude

Counting down


Hopefully, I can take this afterglow into upcoming rehearsals with the Killers, the upcoming tour is sure to be a grind. Still I feel so blessed to know so many amazing people here and at home, and I hope that you feel, as I do, that with all these amazing people do so many amazing things, it's certain that this year will be even better than the last.

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