Bob Boilen | October 9, 2020
Wayne Coyne has appeared inside a bubble for over a decade. At concerts, he’d roll over the tops of adoring fans, their outstretched hands keeping him aloft. That was novelty long ago; now it seems prescient.
For this Tiny Desk (home) concert, Wayne and his bandmates are seemingly quarantined from one another, with the bubble-sharing green-haired drummers and keyboards pairing off, playing together yet apart. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that going to a Flaming Lips concert stoned is a thing.
The Flaming Lips have always embraced the surreal. Drugs are undoubtedly part of the culture, and on their new songs from American Head, drugs are at the core. These are songs for the lost, the overdosed dreamers, the damaged, the car crashed.
On the album’s opening track “Will You Return/When You Come Down” (which also begins this concert), Steven Drozd asks in falsetto, “Will you return? Will you come down?” while Wayne Coyne responds, “Thinking back to those lost souls / And their ghosts / Floating around your bed / Hear it said / Now all your friends are dead.” This visually enchanting Tiny Desk comes down to earth, with technical glitches that are fun to witness and keep it real.
We hear old tunes sparking old memories, including “Be Free, A Way” from 2013’s The Terror and “It’s Summertime” from 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. It’s a thoughtful treat from a band that keeps on giving. (Source: NPR Music)
SET LIST – “Will You Return/When You Come Down” “God And The Policeman” “Be Free, A Way” “It’s Summertime”
MUSICIANS – Wayne Coyne: vocals Steven Drozd: keys, vocals Michael Ivins: bass Derek Brown: guitar, vocals Jake Ingalls: keys Matt Duckworth: drums Nicholas Ley: percussion