Image via Wikipedia
I am a sucker for the utterly good-natured; this is one of the reasons I love the Flaming Lips. I have yet to see them live, unfortunately, but this DVD is a pretty good substitute, at least as much as anything can be.
One of the recurring themes seems to be of the concert as a religious experience; Wayne Coyne‘s white suit — not to mention the stage blood — seems to play to this. Wayne is a rock-star-as-prophet, even though a lot of his songs have at least some nonsense element to them, though that’s for the best. While some of his songs explicitly embrace the joy of life and existence in all its forms, the entire show and experience does that as well as anything can. There’s an earnest quality to the Flaming Lips that does them well. You get the impression that they truly love everyone — and the fact that they’re great musicians and songwriters is pretty great, too.
The concert film, directed by Bradley Beesley (who did most of their videos and The Fearless Freaks), George Salisbury (who does most of the art design for the Flaming Lips records), and Wayne Coyne himself, is a mix of concert footage, behind-the-scenes stuff and interviews with audience members. The audio levels on the concert stuff is much louder than the other footage, which means you’ll have to ride the volume a bit, but that’s a minor complaint. The behind-the-scenes parts are interesting as they explain how the UFO set works, watching Wayne himself help build the set and the process of choosing the stage dancers (in this case Santas and Aliens, rather than the animals of the past). The fan interviews are pretty good too, though sometimes less than enlightening, as a lot of them basically seem to be about the awesomeness of any combination of the Lips, booze or getting high — though their enthusiasm is pretty infectious and helps make the film impossible to watch without a goofy smile plastered on your face.
As for the 5.1 mix, it shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that it’s outstanding and goes beyond the standard Music-In-Front-Crowd-In-Back mix. After all, the Lips have had a bit of experience with that, even before 5.1 home setups really existed. And, if that weren’t enough, the DVD comes with mp3 versions of the entire show as well, along with lots of other bonus stuff. The general impression of the set is that the Flaming Lips love everything, everyone, and you. And it’s pretty much impossible not to love them back.