As winter slowly draws near, the idea of drive-in concerts is quickly becoming unrealistic for much of the country but The Flaming Lips might’ve just created live entertainment’s latest pivot.
Known for over the top live shows, ones often including lead singer Wayne Coyne performing portions on stage in a plastic bubble, the Oklahoma City-based group decided to figure out a way to bring its music to its hometown, in a socially distant – and very 2020 – kind of way. With each fan housed in their own inflatable bubble, The Flaming Lips performed two songs, Brother Eye and Assassins of Youth off of American Head, the band’s latest LP from Warner Records, which was released early last month. Taking place at The Criterion, the purpose of the short-lived event was for the band to test out a full-on bubble concert and get video, according to Brooklyn Vegan.
Coyne posted a clip of the event to his Instagram account, showing the frontman singing in his bubble, standing on top of a sea of other bubbles each housing a dancing fan. The bubbles were placed strategically on the floor of the venue beforehand, along with signs asking the audience to wear a mask whenever they were not in their “space bubble.” This fun idea could become the standard for many concert venues big and small that continue to struggle to find ways to survive in 2020.
And with The Flaming Lips testing out the concept, we can’t help but wonder if there are plans to ramp it up for some sort of nationwide tour, or at least a string of shows. In a recent interview, Coyne admitted the band was looking for ways to make the bubble work, in the hopes of fitting three people to a bubble since it drastically cuts down on space.
“We think maybe playing two shows a night, and getting a big audience in there each time,” Coyne told Consequence of Sound, adding, “The place that we’re at at the moment, it holds almost 4,000 people, but it only holds a hundred space bubbles. So it’s a lot of space in there.”
Perhaps the idea will now get other bands, from all sorts of genres, scheming about the possibility of bubble concerts. Just imagine attending a Mastodon show and the floor is just one massive bubble mosh pit. Sure, it might not be the most ideal way to witness live music but it gives us hope that a return of live music could come sooner rather than later. And at this point in time, all we have to hold on to is hope.