Flaming Lips @ Central Park Summerstage

Flaming Lips took their traveling sideshow to the Central Park Summer Stage for an incredible night of indie-based bombastic rock. Pulling at a cosmic consciousness to lost youth, they straddled a whirlwind of hazy daze and contorted, swirly, angular rock with the help of confetti blasts, fuzzy animal costumes that ringleader/barker Wayne Coyne summoned from the depths of delirium.

Exiting the stage from a giant sized hamster ball Coyne walked over the crowd and was held aloft by the faithful, rolling back to the stage with a triumphant, “This night is f–king perfect,” before they took on “The Fear.”

The rest of the show was a kaleidoscope of confectionery delights; ear and eye candy for the senses. Pulling from their latest album, Embryo, the Lips weaved through their set creating motifs of sonic peaks and valleys for their hour and a half marathon. They gelled into a unit of bratty misfits as they tweaked the turd off ‘70s overindulgent rock, yet added a punky edge that kept things from getting too hippie. The neon, orange day glow set design added a futuristic, radioactive vibe to the set as cartoons and Coyne’s mic-cam flashed images onscreen.

Theirs was a psychedelic ramble, coupled with a tiptoe through the tulips. Throw in some
orchestral laced sonics, the cloudy, nervous ramble of Syd Barrett’s Floyd and the fairy dust of Alice’s Wonderland, and you get the picture. Their wide-eyed confectionery stew went from the industrial clatter of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory, to the serene, quiet orbit of a distant meadow in their 14-song set.

During “I Can Be a Frog,” the crowd added animal sounds to the mix. On “See the Leaves,” peace signs were held to the heavens as Coyne added, “We’ll play this one until the war in Iraq ends.” Things got silly on the crowd sing-along “She Don’t Use Jelly,” serene on “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt.1”, political on “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” and reflective on the closer. In between Coyne was held aloft by a gorilla suited gent, worked a megaphone, campaigned for the legalization of pot and commanded the think, feel and boogie.

The encore “Do You Realize??,” put everything in perspective as a topless girl danced onscreen, the Pillsbury Dough boy did the hustle, bunnies pranced onstage, confetti flew in a celebration to life and the joys of idiosyncratic mind bending rock.