“I THINK that this is the greatest place to be on Planet Earth tonight,” says Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, completely aghast and awe-struck at the scene surrounding him.
Before him stands a sold-out crowd of fanatics with arms aloft, and to his right, Jodrell Bank’s 76 metre high Lovell Telescope with psychedelic images of the universe being beamed onto its satellite dish.
The telescope is worth a visit alone – standing tall as an awe-inspiring feat of modern human achievement. We find ourselves in the rare situation where a band runs the risk of being outdone by the venue itself, but if there’s any band on Earth that can rise to the challenge, it’s The Flaming Lips.
In fact, as the clanging notes of opener The Captain is a Cold Hearted and Egotistical Fool ring out and Coyne surfs over the heads of the ecstatic crowd from inside a giant bubble, it’s almost as if they’re a band from an entirely different planet.
This is the perfect opportunity for the Lips to demonstrate their impeccable knack at both writing soul-searing universal anthems, and putting on a mind-bending live show that’s a feast for all of the senses.
Complete with dancing nurses, laser beams, confetti, balloons and a whole lot more, the band’s show perfectly compliments its truly epic surroundings.
The first true sing-along of the night comes in the form of the quirky-cult grunge classic She Don’t Use Jelly, but it certainly isn’t the last. The infectious and undeniably joyful Yeah Yeah Yeah song soon follows, shortly before the space-age campfire gem of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.
Being here, you literally can’t believe your eyes or ears, and this is exactly what live music should feel like. Through marrying their binding pop masterpieces with an eccentric and celebratory approach to performing, The Flaming Lips make tonight feel less like a gig and more like an event.
Returning for an encore of the glorious and driving Race For The Prize and the utterly life-affirming Do You Realize, the band successfully bring 5,000 people together in one mass embrace. The experience of watching The Flaming Lips is nothing short of celestial, and tonight, all at Jodrell Bank shared something truly special with the entire universe - the certainty that they would rather be here than anywhere else on Planet Earth.
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Review and photos by Andrew Trendell