The most predictable-yet-jubilant moments in live rock may be the opening of any Flaming Lips show; you’re gonna get Wayne playing psychedelic cheerleader, confetti guns, Coyne in a bubble, and a mild case of sensory overload. And, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be one of the costumed cheerleaders flanking the band, read this report filed by Stereogum’s friend Lizz:
Going into this year?s Austin City Limits Music Festival, I expected to get a few blisters, drink a few beers, sweat a whole lot, and see more than a few outstanding shows. I did not expect to put on a purple polyester alien costume and kick out an hour?s worth of bootyshakin? moves in front thousands of people.
Brief background: my friend Laura and I thought we?d avoid the hassle of trying to get on to the tiny onstage viewing area for the Flaming Lips? set at Lollapalooza by doing what any schmucks with artist passes would do ? we snuck into the costume tent backstage, stole two Santa costumes, and did our best to blend in with the audience members who?d been picked to dance on stage with the band. Busted mere yards from the stage, we instead got to watch the show from approximately three miles back and think longingly about what could have been.
We weren?t about to repeat our mistake at ACL on Sunday, so we did what any enlightened schmucks with artist passes would do ? we asked Wayne himself…
Wayne directed us to Justin, the Lips? gregarious costume manager, who remembered our underhanded efforts in Chicago but laughed it off and welcomed us to the team.
The pre-show instructions were fairly brief and mainly involved use of the heavy, industrial metal flashlights we each carried:
1. ?Shine the lights on Wayne while he crowd surfs in his bubble during ?Race for the Prize.??
2. ?Shine the lights on each other during ?Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2.? It will, in fact, come right after ?Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1.? Does this confuse anyone??
3. ?Shake your asses.?
It was 95 and humid in Austin, and my rubber mask stayed on for approximately one and a half songs, but I shook that itchy little alien dress for all it was worth. Unless at some point in the future I find myself headlining a major festival or playing in a Super Bowl, chances are I will never again see 60,000 people snapping pictures of me, responding to my somewhat awkward movements, and cheering me on. The hour-long set flew by as we twirled and sweated in an oversize snow globe of confetti, balloons, fake blood, and flying tampons.
Upon turning in our costumes, we each got a commemorative t-shirt for being a part of the show and a hearty hug from Justin the Costume Guy. It was sort of fitting that rain and lightening interrupted Tom Petty?s festival-closing set, because looking out on the massive crowd from the AT&T stage at dusk was the perfect way to wave goodbye to the ACL weekend.
All you have to do is ask?! We’re totally petitioning to be Santas next time. Or we’ll make like Jen and wear that owl get-up.
Anyone else done some interpretive dancing on stage at a Lips show? Helpful hints to secure stage access are always welcome.