One of the definitive images from Flaming Lips concerts over the years — perhaps the definitive image — is Wayne Coyne rolling across the crowd in a giant “space bubble.” When the COVID-19 pandemic began, this bit inspired an ingenious Coyne doodle that then became a T-shirt in the Flaming Lips webstore, in which the entire audience was now in bubbles too. The fan-bubbles conceit then ballooned into actual small-scale performances taped for Fallon and Colbert as well as the video for “Dinosaurs On The Mountain” from the Lips’ new album American Head. And now the dream is about to come to fruition in the form of a full-fledged concert.
A few days ago Coyne posted an image of a concert hall full of deflated bubbles on his Instagram. Now, in an interview with Brooklyn Vegan, he reveals that the Lips are indeed planning a series of fully bubbled concerts in their native Oklahoma City. “I mean, it seems absurd, but we at first were just doing it as not a joke, but just as a kind of funny thing, and now it’s becoming kind of serious and real,” Coyne tells BV. “We’re starting to get ready to do an actual show where yeah, there’s three people in each of these space bubbles, and we play… We think maybe playing two shows a night, and getting a big audience in there each time.”
Coyne adds, “The place that we’re at at the moment, it holds almost 4,000 people, but it only holds a hundred space bubbles. So it’s a lot of space in there.” Also, “You fill them up and people can be in them for quite a while. I don’t think people quite realize that. Since we have some here, we’ve played with them and messed with them for quite a while. I mean, even back in 2006, I would get in one of the space bubbles at the end of our big Halloween parade here, and I would walk down the street for almost an hour in one.”
In a separate interview with Jambase, Coyne elaborates, “We don’t want this to be [a super spreader event] like that Smash Mouth [concert]. We want this to be safe and a great experience. Those are the things the venue is allowing us to set up so we can start to figure out how it will work. The part about playing in the bubble, we already have down. It’s how we get the crowd in and out without cross-contamination that we need to figure out, but they’re giving us a few weeks in this venue to figure it out.”
Supposedly these gigs will start up sometime after the election, so ambitious fans should start researching travel and lodging plans in OKC, I guess!