Published Jun 17, 2012Flaming Lips shows have long been heralded as legendary experiences. So much so that when a man runs over the crowd in a giant plastic hamster ball, it's hardly surprising anymore. It's still ridiculously fun, though, as was the band's entire free set at Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square. It may not have been the ideal venue choice, thanks to poor sight lines and non-stop conga lines of people trying to escape the sea of humans, but that didn't seem to deter anyone on stage.
The Oklahoma psych rockers know how to make an entrance, introducing each member as they emerged down a ramp on stage, until finally ringleader Wayne Coyne worked his magic in the aforementioned bubble to the tune of Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf." That morphed in to "Worm Mountain," which was followed by one of the night's biggest sing-alongs with "She Don't Use Jelly."
In a rather touching mid-set moment, Coyne addressed the Radiohead stage collapse, noting that many in the crowd would have been at the Downsview Park gig until tragedy struck earlier in the day. Sending everyone's collective good karma and love to the band and crew, the Lips cranked out a stunning cover of Radiohead's "Knives Out." Instead of dwelling on the sad news, the band seemed to make it their intention to cheer up Toronto's live music fans by any means necessary. Busting out balloons, confetti, lasers and Coyne's terrifying giant hands, the Flaming Lips definitely got the party back on track.
Things took a slight detour through space towards the end of the gig with "What Is the Light?" but it was closer "Do You Realize??" that really sent good vibes through the crowd and unleashed the remains of the confetti arsenal upon the thousands of onlookers in the heart of downtown Toronto.