Oklahoma City’s rock musicians are literally exploding in 2020 using human-sized inflatable bubbles to defend themselves and the fans against Covid-19 while finding a way to play live.
The Flaming Lips performed on Monday evening at The Criterion in their hometown and placed themselves – and all fans present – in individual plastic balls. The concert – part live show, part music video shoot – came from a sketch Wayne Coyne scribbled in the early days of the pandemic, the frontman told CNN.
“I did 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 space bubble, and everyone else is perfectly normal,”
At the time, Coyne says the idea was more or less a social commentary on the state of the virus, with the thought that Covid-19 would never dwell long enough to see the bladder experiment fully inflate.
“I don’t think anyone would have thought … in mid-March that this would be eight months later. I think we all thought this was a month, that’s maybe two months. But we will get this under control get, “he said.
That inspired her to keep going.
“We do a couple of songs with about 30 people in the bubbles. And we start to think, ‘Well, you know, only when we do that do we get an idea that we could actually do it, you know, and it could actually happen, ‘”revealed Coyne.
The “space bubbles” have long been part of The Flaming Lips stage shows, so Coyne and Company were familiar with a range of inflatable balls. After the specifications were set, the band ordered 100 bubbles from China, and this unique musical event – one that was first created on Coyne’s sketchpad – was ready to burst.
“Since May, there has been a growing desire to see the live music,” he told CNN, noting that fans interested in testing the experience were invited between 6:30 am and 6:00 pm To arrive at The Criterion at 7pm ET.
“Shortly after six we already had enough people.”
With a few hundred fans, The Flaming Lips played a dance remix of “Assassins of Youth” and “Brother Eye”, two tracks from their latest LP “American Head”.
“I like the way that looks because you can be as excited as you want, you can scream as much as you want, you just can’t infect the person next to you, no matter what you forget, how excited you will, “he said. “That barrier is still there, you are protected, and you are protected … that part of it worked for us,” he said.
Are bubbles jumping with fans and bands alike into the future of live music, at least amid this global pandemic?
“I’m ready to do anything I can to say I think we could do this and that would be perfectly safe,” says Coyne, who said he ultimately hopes for a vaccine.
“We at The Flaming Lips like the idea that we’re doing something different … I think it could be cool. It could be fun. And we could all have a crazy, unique experience.” he said.