The Oklahoma City rock musicians are literally blowing up in 2020 by using human-sized inflatable bubbles to defend themselves and fans against Covid-19 while finding a way to play live.
Performing at The Criterion in their hometown on Monday night, The Flaming Lips placed themselves – and all fans present – within individual plastic balls. The concert – which was partly live show, part music video recording – was born out of a sketch doodled by Wayne Coyne during the early days of the pandemic, frontman told CNN.
“I made a little drawing … where I drew a picture of The Flaming Lips doing a show in 2019. And I’m the only person in the rumble bubble and everyone else is just normal,”
At the time, Coyne says, the idea was more or less a social commentary on the state of the virus, with the idea that Covid-19 would never linger long enough to see the bubble experiment fully inflate.
“I do not think anyone would have thought … in mid-March that this will still go, you know, eight months later. I think we all thought it was a month, it’s maybe two months, but we will get to grips with this, ”he said.
It inspired them to keep going.
“We’re doing a couple of songs with about 30 people in the bubbles. And we’re starting to think, ‘Well, you know, just by doing that, we’re starting to get an idea that we could actually do what you know, and it could actually happen, ” Coyne revealed.
“The Space Bubbles” has long been part of The Flaming Lips stage shows, so Coyne and the company were familiar with a number of inflatable bullets. After setting the specifications, the band ordered 100 bubbles from China, and this unique music event – a first made on Coyne’s sketchpad – was ready to pop.
“Since May, the desire to see live music has just become more, amplified, you know more,” he told CNN, noting that fans interested in trying out the experience were asked to arrive at The Criterion between 6 p.m. 19.00 ET.
“Just after six, we already had enough people.”
With a few hundred fans floating around, The Flaming Lips performed a dance mix of “Assassins of Youth” and “Brother Eye,” a few tracks from their latest LP, “American Head.”
“I like the way it looks because you can get as excited as you want, you can scream as much as you want, you just can not infect the person next to you, no matter what you forget, how excited you get, “he said. “This barrier is still there, they’re protected, and you’re protected … that part of what we really felt was success,” he said.
So is bouncing bubbles, with fans and bands just encapsulated, the future of live music, at least in the midst of this global pandemic?
“I’m willing to do everything I can, you know, I think we could do this, and this would be for sure,” said Coyne, who said he ultimately holds out hope. a vaccine.
“We, like The Flaming Lips, like the idea of doing something else … I think it could be cool. It could be fun. And we could all have one, you know, a crazy unique experience, ” he said.