Flaming Lips hold ‘space bubble’ gigs to get COVID creative

The Flaming Lips are known for frontman Wayne Coyne zorbing in a large transparent ball over the crowd at their gigs.

So with COVID-19 restrictions putting a halt to most live music since March 2020, the US rock band came up with an inspired way to pull off some unique socially distanced shows.

With bubbles for audience members too, they have been able to perform for fans following a practice run in October 2020.

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A post shared by Wayne Coyne (@waynecoyne5)

At the weekend, the band performed two shows in their home state of Oklahoma, with the crowd listening and dancing in “space bubbles”.

Coyne shared a video on Instagram of his baby son, Bloom, watching from the balcony as fans enjoyed the music in their capsules.

The band were pictured holding “F*** you COVID-19” balloons on stage during the gig.

Ahead of the shows, Coyne posted a video with instructions on the pods and how they would work.

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A post shared by Wayne Coyne (@waynecoyne5)

Before the first gig, camera operator Nathan Poppe shared a thread on Twitter explaining the logistics, saying the venue was filled with 100 bubbles containing up to three people each.

“There’s a fancy high frequency supplemental speaker inside each bubble as well as a water bottle, a fan, a towel and a ‘I gotta go pee/hot in here’ sign,” he wrote.

Fans were able to take masks off inside the bubbles, but had to put them on when they needed to leave for any reason.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips performs at Bourbon and Beyond Music Festival at Kentucky Exposition Center on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Pic: AP
Image:Frontman Wayne Coyne (pictured in 2019) is known for zorbing over the crowd at gigs. Pic: AP

Anyone needing to leave had to roll their bubble to the exit and unzip it at the door.

At a time when the live music industry is struggling, it was certainly a creative way to enable gigs to go ahead.

“The most innovative way to attend a show during a global pandemic. Outstanding,” one fan wrote in response to Coyne’s video of his son.

“Poor kid’s gonna grow up thinking all live shows are going to be this amazing,” another said. “Seriously though, funniest live act on the planet.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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