The Flaming Lips – Rebel - Toronto – March 13, 2017
Review and Photos by: Darren Eagles
Toronto has a big shiny and newly renovated nightclub that might be the best
venue to see a band in the city, period. A few bands have rolled through the
doors at Rebel since the grand reopening. But nothing comes close to the
spectactle that landed this week. Nearly 35 years ago Wayne Coyne and The
Flaming Lips started on their crazy hike through almost every musical genre
with joyful abandon. And TFL brought their “There SHOULD Be Unicorns
Tour” into town complete with all the visual and aural treats that they are
Right out of the gate, they tore into the soaring string synth sounds of “Race
for the Prize” from their 1999 album, “The Soft Bulletin”. And while most
bands leave the big show elements till later in the set, TFL wasted no time in
hitting the switch on their banks of streamer and confetti cannons as well as
unleashing an armada of giant balloons filled with just enough helium to keep
them barely floating, the air was was filled with them. Their new album “Oczy
Mlody” was released on January 13, 2017 and the 2 hour set featured 3 of the
tracks from it. Notably, the tour’s namesake “There Should Be Unicorns” saw
Coyne parading around the floor of the venue through the crowd on a stylized
and completely lit up cartoon unicorn, interacting with the fans as he went,
and spreading confetti about.
A TFL show is as much about the visual experience as it is about the other
worldly music and lyrics. A monsterous video wall extended behind the band
and long LED streamers hung from the rigging in “curtains” across the front of
the stage and in a few rows toward the back. The strips were programmed
with the visual capabilities of a video wall, but allowed Coyne and other band
members to push them aside and walk through and around them them like a
bead curtain. It was an interesting effect, much in the way Pink Floyd made
their show more about the lights and music, and less about seeing the band.
A TFL show wouldn’t be complete unless Coyne entered his giant transparent
plastic sphere and rolled over the outstretched hands of the crowd for a
striking version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” The people in the building
got it. Anyone who hasn’t seen them live should experiece the party. The
show was bright, loud and unique. Sort of like Rebel.
Race for the Prize
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
There Should Be Unicorns
Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung
What Is the Light?
The Flaming Lips
Photographer for Rockthepit Magazine.