The Flaming Lips pre-space bubbles, plushies and confetti guns, circa 1989.
Promoters of the Pitchfork Music Festival have announced that Oklahoma's venerated psychedelic-pop weirdoes the Flaming Lips will close out this year's three-day concert in Union Park on July 17 to 19.
The Lips have become a staple on the festival circuit in recent years with their low-tech whiz-bang stage shows, though many longtime fans have been disappointed by the lack of older material in their sets and the overabundance of shtick (bandleader Wayne Coyne singing "Happy Birthday"--that sort of thing).
At Pitchfork, however, the band will be reprising the opening night's "Write the Night: Set Lists by Request" concept, inviting fans to cast their votes online for the songs they'd most like to hear. If they vote wisely, the Lips actually pay attention to the balloting and Coyne deigns to pick up a guitar again, the results could almost be enough to make one forgive the band for selling out to those annoying Kraft salad dressing commercials or picking on those poor, sensitive kids in the Arcade Fire (among numerous other sins of late).
In any event, here is one veteran Flaming Lips fan's choice for the ultimate live set list, in chronological order from early in the band's career to the present. (If the group plays these songs, I'm happy to take them in any sequence they wanna give 'em.)
1. "Jesus Shootin' Heroin" (from "Hear It Is," 1986)
2. "Everything's Explodin'" ("Oh My Gawd!!!... The Flaming Lips," 1987)
3. "Chrome-Plated Suicide" ("Telepathic Surgery," 1987)
4. "Shine On Sweet Jesus" ("In a Priest Driven Ambulance," 1990)
5. "Unconsciously Screaming" ("In a Priest Driven Ambulance," 1990)
6. "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" ("In a Priest Driven Ambulance," 1990)
7. "Hit Me Like You Did the First Time" ("Hit to Death in the Future Head," 1992)
8. "Frogs" ("Hit to Death in the Future Head," 1992)
9. "Turn It On" ("Transmissions from the Satellite Heart," 1993)
10. "Pilot Can at the Queer of God" ("Transmissions from the Satellite Heart," 1993)
11. "Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus with Needles" ("Clouds Taste Metallic," 1995)
12. "Kim's Watermelon Gun" ("Clouds Taste Metallic," 1995)
13. "The Captain is a Cold-Hearted and Egotistical Fool" (outtake from "The Soft Bulletin," 1999)
14. "Waitin' for a Superman" ("The Soft Bulletin," 1999)
15. "Pompeii am Götterdämmerung" ("At War with the Mystics," 2006)
Yeah, yeah, many Pitchforkers may quibble with only one official song from "The Soft Bulletin," but the band has been playing much of that album in concert regularly since its release. Even more so with "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" (2002). This is a chance to get the band to revisit a rich catalog that stands with some of the best in rock history--and I mean, right up there beside Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and certainly any band of the alternative generation--and the vast majority of the songs I've chosen haven't been heard live in more than 15 years.
Anyway, this is my list, and I'm stickin' with it! If you think you can do better, I'd love to see it.