The Flaming Lips continued the 20th-anniversary celebration of their seminal album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the Youtube Theater in Los Angeles. Playing the entire record in full for the die-hard fans of all ages who’d gathered to revel in the psychedelic soundscapes and sci-fi scenery it evokes. Led by the galvanizing presence of lead singer and cosmic guide Wayne Coyne, they also delivered an entire second-half set pulled from across their catalog.


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Opening with the rapt space-funk of “Fight Test,” their cover-to-cover play-through revealed the sheer sonic bliss that still bursts from every song. From the entangling, acoustic-driven melody of its title track “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1” to the ecstatic rallying cry that shudders forth from “Do You Realize??”

The Flaming Lips don’t create anthems so much as measured crescendos of sound and emotion. Live, Coyne’s transcendent lyricism melds euphorically with the band’s sublime instrumentals and synth-wizardry. Inciting a sensory overload of catharsis on the ego-busting resonance odyssey “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell” or confronting insidious manipulation via the hallucinatory soundscapes of “Are You a Hypnotist??”

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But the visuals provided by The Flaming Lips were just as enchanting and grandiose as their music. The titular pink robots rose and fell as these inflated behemoths towered over the band. While at one point a large glittering disco ball was seated behind Coyne’s head — bestowing him with this sparkling halo. Or the giant rainbow from beneath which Coyne let soar words of earnest vitality and sincerity.

Words & Photos: Steven Ward

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