Rivers Cuomo and Wayne Coyne, photo by Michael Zonenashvili
There are certain instances when a concert bill makes sense, when the opener, headliner, co-headliner, etc. is coupled with something else at least tangentially similar. Conversely, there are instances when the bill makes you go, “Wait, why?” Leave it to the combination of the Flaming Lips
to take any bit of skepticism about the pairing and completely eradicate it.
What could have been a run-of-the-mill show, arbitrarily assigning one of these extremely high-profile acts the last spot, was overhauled. Due to a collaborative effort between the two bands, the crowd at Jones Beach was treated to a “Twice-In-A-Lifetime” show, the “Flaming Weezer Orchestra/WeezerLips Experience.” Both acts set up onstage at the same time, alternating back and forth in three-song intervals, presenting what could have been the feel-good show of a lifetime.
But the switching just punctuated the set with 10-second shuffling of one band to another on the stage and gave people in the crowd who came for one band reason to complain audibly during the other band’s set. Though there was a certain charm to this show. Flaming Lips tweaked its opening/space bubble sequence to include Weezer, as both Wayne Coyne and Rivers Cuomo rolled into the audience while jamming out to Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf.” Upon returning and leaving the bubbles, the two frontmen hugged and the Lips stepped forward to play. In a flurry of confetti, balloons and costumed dancers, the band plowed through the first three songs, leading the crowd through its mix of musical prowess, experimentation and demand for audience participation.
As soon as the three-song trip was over, it was back to high school for most of the audience, as Weezer played three songs, which equated to perhaps the length of a single Flaming Lips song. Both bands soared through catalog-spanning sets, the Lips returning to The Soft Bulletin
and Weezer giving us a good chunk of the Blue Album
At a certain point, though, the setlists became secondary to the spectacle. A concert-threatening storm seemed to give the audience a second, third and fourth wind, as the “Yeah Yeah Yeah” song had people screaming from the tops of their friends’ shoulders, and I even saw a toddler holding his hands up in the Weezer “W” symbol.
To round out the evening, an enormous one-two-three closer made the viewers forget about their wet shoes. “Do You Realize??” complete with Rivers Cuomo manning confetti canons was, as always, an inspiring concert experience. Being reminded of our own mortality never felt so great. To cap off the evening, both bands joined together for renditions of “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “The Sweater Song” with every member taking a part, even if the part Wayne Coyne held was riding a bear into the audience to shoot confetti out of a handheld canon.
Photos of Flaming Lips below by Michael Zonenashvili
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