The Flaming Lips Postpone Space Bubble Concerts Due To Rising Coronavirus Numbers
For years now, Flaming Lips shows have involved frontman Wayne Coyne crowdsurfing through the audience in a “space bubble” — basically a giant inflatable hamster ball. More recently, the band has been playing around with the idea of COVID-safe concerts where everyone, including the audience, is in their own personal plastic bubble. They tested out the concept with a video shoot in October, and they were planning a full concert at the Criterion in their Oklahoma City hometown later this month. But now, due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, the Flaming Lips have decided to postpone the show for another month.
“Although the Flaming Lips have every confidence in the multitude of measures we are taking to keep you safe at our upcoming Space Bubble Concerts we have decided to postpone the December shows,” Wayne Coyne wrote on Instagram. “The rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the Oklahoma metro area are alarming and we want to keep everyone safe. The Friday Dec. 11th performance will be moved to Friday Jan. 22nd. The Thursday Dec. 10th performance will be moved to Saturday Jan. 23rd. If you cannot make it to the new concert dates or have changed your mind about coming to the show(s) the Flaming Lips are happy to refund your ticket. Thank you for your patience and know we love you!”
“It’s worse here than it’s ever been,” Wayne Coyne added to Rolling Stone. “We know of an emergency room worker just a couple of nights ago who said someone came in, and they didn’t have any place for them, and they died, and they shouldn’t have died. They were a young person. The mayor is advising us, ‘Let’s not get together in big groups’ … I think we’re just feeling like this is going against what our concerts are really about.”
While the space bubble concert itself would be “safer than going to the grocery store,” according to Coyne, there were other factors to be considered. “If you have to get on a plane, find a hotel — that’s a lot of areas that aren’t our concert,” he explained. “So we’re hoping by the third week in January that all this activity around New Year’s Eve and Christmas will have started to play out. Then we might be able to be in a stable position when we can say, ‘Let’s try to do these space bubble concerts.’”
“I don’t want anybody to think this is some kind of fucking freak party,” Coyne continued. “It’s a very restricted, weird event. But the weirdness is so we can enjoy a concert before putting our families and everybody at risk. And I think it can actually work, but just not when it’s this serious here. I think it’s a bit of a new normal — you might go to a show, you might not. But I think we’re going to be able to work it out.”