The Flaming Lips – Manchester Academy

The show starts, and the giant balloons fall from the sky, bouncing from body to body, hitting the curtain of LED lights the band stand behind. Yes, it’s The Flaming Lips and the ‘There Should Be Unicorns’ tour is an insight into what they see, every single day of the week. 

Wayne Coyne and his band of merry pranksters have been gifting the world with wondrous psychedelia for over two decades, and the latest show, amidst all the balloons, confetti cannons, flashing lights, inflatable bridges, dancing alien suits and an actual ride-able unicorn, has the best of it all, from that one we all know ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt 1’ to the latest greats from Oczy Mlody including infectious sing along ‘How??’. Each party set piece is linked to a song, which prevents the music being lost within the show, and ensuring that all the madness had some sort of sense behind it all.

Some of the softer, sadder songs such as ‘The Castle’ felt a little dim within the smoke and lights, and Coyne’s thoughts between the singing tended to come across more as incoherent ramblings than anything sensual, but these moments provided a little breathing room before the confetti cannons fired away once more. And when Coyne climbed into his favourite inflatable ball, bouncing off the stage whilst singing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, it all made sense anyway. ‘Of course, that’s what he was trying to say’ is what we all must have thought at the single moment in time.

It’s as if the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test took to the stage rather than the road, or a Butthole Surfers show if they switched gore for glitter cannons.Ultimately, we were seeing what the band saw, aliens and unicorns and all, oh my.


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