The Flaming Lips have found a creative way to play live concerts while adhering to COVID-19 prevention protocols by having the band and audience members all isolate themselves inside inflatable plastic “space bubbles.” They’ve announced a concert for December 11 at The Criterion, in their hometown, Oklahoma City and shared a new live video for their song “Brother Eye,” giving a glimpse at what a bubble concert looks like.
Although this will be considered the world’s first official bubble concert set, it’s not the first time The Flaming Lips have performed with space bubbles. The Flaming Lips’ frontman, Wayne Coyne, has been known to have crowd surfed in a space bubble before, so his familiarity with the bubbles inspired the idea of the bubble concert. In June, the band ran a trial bubble concert when they performed “Race for the Prize” to a small bubble-enclosed audience on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Last month, they shot live videos for “Assassins of Youth” and “Brother Eye” at The Criterion with a full 100-bubble audience.
Now, they’re ready for a full bubble concert. Tickets for the December 11 show go on sale this Friday, November 3 at 10:00 a.m. CT at criterionokc.com. Each bubble has a capacity of three people and tickets will be sold by the bubble.
Watch the live video for “Brother Eye” above, showing The Flaming Lips’ first bubble concert appearance at The Criterion. Attendees dance and jump around in their bubbles a bit, jiggling the surrounding space bubbles since they’re all packed together. The song is focused on Coyne’s emotional lyrics about growing up afraid for his brothers because of their dangerous styles of living, starting with the lyrics, “Brother, I don’t want you to die/Brother, can you live forever?” Acoustic guitar, light drums and atmospheric keys/electronics fill the song out underneath the vocals.
It’s one of the songs from The Flaming Lips’ latest album, American Head, which came out in September. Before shooting these two live videos, they had previously released socially-distanced videos for several other songs on the album, “Mother Please Don’t Be Sad,” “Will You Return / When You Come Down,” “You n Me Sellin’ Weed,” “Dinosaurs on the Mountain,” “My Religion Is You” and “Flowers of Neptune 6” featuring Kacey Musgraves.
Coyne assured everyone that the bubbles were safe the first time The Flaming Lips announced a bubble concert, “It holds a lot of air. I mean, you can be in there for quite a while. I just don’t think people quite realize what it is as a mechanism. But we’ve just messed with them for so long, we kind of know that it can all work and how it can work and all that.”
Photo credit: Mauricio Alvarado