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The Flaming Lips’ ‘bubble concert’ could be a blueprint to revolutionise the live music circuit

A psychedelic dream or dystopian nightmare? The Flaming Lips perform the world’s first bubble-dome concert



Since the pandemic broke out early last year, numerous restrictions were put in place by world leaders to put a stop to the spread of Covid-19, with hopes to return back to normal as soon as possible. 

Whether our old “normal” will ever be truly attainable again has become a topic of debate for scientists, families locked away in their homes, and, of course, musicians. But thanks to The Flaming Lips, there may be a solution for returning to our old ways — where live music exists — sooner than we think. 

On Friday 22 January, the psych-rockers took to the stage in Oklahoma at The Criterion to play the ‘World’s First Space Bubble Concert’. Using a creative loophole (or loop bubble), audiences were able to watch the band from the safety of their Covid-secure domes. The venue was split up into 100 giant inflatable hamster balls, including the band who each had their own individual sphere.

The setlist consisted of a number of fan favourites, including She Don’t Use Jelly, Race For The Prize, Do You Realize??, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt.1 and more.

Being a band known for their psychedelic prowess, The Flaming Lips released a brigade of brightly-coloured balloons on top of the audience, featuring some in the form of the words “FUCK YOU COVID-19”. 

A bizarre creation never usually grows from conventional grounds, and the initial idea behind the bubble-dome concert came from a doodling session by bandleader Wayne Coyne on the first ever day of lockdown. In an interview with Consequence of Sound last month he reveals “I made a little cartoon. I drew myself. It was The Flaming Lips in 2019, and I’m the only one in a space bubble, and I’m on stage.

“Then I drew The Flaming Lips in 2020. I’m in a space bubble, but so is everyone else. Of course, I would think of that, because isn’t this absurd?”

The bubble-dome set up had gone through a series of trial runs before officially debuting last week, including performances with The Flaming Lips in their spheres on late-night shows such as Fallon and Colbert. They also recently played a private show for family and friends.

In a post-pandemic world, will this be the future of how we watch our live bands, or is this simply a quick fix to an ever-changing problem that will cease to exist before we know it? All we know is, we really want to go to a bubble concert.

Flaming Lips ‘bubble concert’ setlist:

Race for the Prize
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
Flowers of Neptune 6 (Live Debut)
True Love Will Find You in the End (Daniel Johnston Cover)
She Don’t Use Jelly
Will You Return/ When You Come Down
The Gash
All We Have is Now
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
There Should Be Unicorns
Are You a Hypnotist?
Waitin’ for a Superman
Do You Realize??