As part of Washington D.C.’s Earth Day celebration, The Flaming Lips headlined a less-than star-studded lineup to help bring awareness to the now-named ‘Green Generation.’ Of course they didn’t go on until 5pm, a mere 5 hours after the event kicked off at the National Mall. To kill time until Wayne Coyne and his clear inflatable ball came out, here are things I will apparently put up with just to see The Flaming Lips:
1) Shitty Weather
2) Chevy Chase: If you would have guessed in 1976 which member of Saturday Night Live would end up having the most success surely Chevy Chase would top the list. Turns out that while Murray, Belushi and Ackroyd have become legends, Chase has become an painfully unfunny hack spokesman — dolling out lame jokes and bland statements about how saving the environment is, you know, ‘good.’
3) Hippie Doodah-ing: Includes Hula hooping, ribbon twirling, self-dancing. Somehow in high school and early college, it didn’t seem nearly as annoying to see grown adults acting like impish fairies amazed with bright colours and simple childlike activities. In one instance, a woman who had been twirling ribbons all afternoon gave her toys to an actual kid to play with. And yet sadly she then didn’t know what to do with herself, staring longingly at the ribbons like a former smoker who doesn’t know what to do with their hands anymore.
4) Matthew Modine: We couldn’t think of a single movie he has ever done. Why is he famous?
5) moe.: Yikes. One song said to be inspired by Hurricane Katrina was particularly terrible, lasting about as long as people in New Orleans have been waiting for their FEMA trailers.
6) The heavy-handed appropriation of Obama’s Change message: Look, we all know that President Obama is well, President, which is, by my estimation still a pretty great thing. We all know that the environment is a good thing, issues like climate change are very real and scary and should be taken seriously. Likewise, events like Earth Day, especially in D.C., can be great ways to bring awareness to green causes.
But, as bad as this sounds, I’ve found that more and more, it’s getting sorta annoying to hear over and over about how things are so much different now. Have we hit the point where it doesn’t quite as ring true as it once did?
In one amazing non-statement — although to be fair, one of many during the day by a variety of speakers — Chevy latched onto the popular, yet increasingly meaningless ‘yes we can’ mantra by asking the audience ‘Isn’t it great Barack Obama is President?’ Well, yes, of course. “Isn’t it great that food is delicious?” I asked back.
7) The Flaming Lips: They opened dramatically with Coyne taking to his giant inflatable ball and being tossed in the crowd, then segueing into a stellar “Race for the Prize” complete with confetti guns, smoke machines and all that.
But it was hard to believe that The Flaming Lips would take two of their best songs, “Fight Test” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and turn them into ballad-like lullabyes for a crowd waiting around in overcast, cold, windy and wet weather.
There were a few other good renditions of “The W.A.N.D.” “She Don’t Use Jelly” and set closer “Do You Realize?,” but set fell flat overall, Then again, a free Lips show is still a free show, so cannot totally complain.