Flaming Lips announce OKC date for 'world's first actual Space Bubble live concert'
Oklahoma City-based psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips plan to make history by staging "the world’s first actual Space Bubble live concert" in their hometown.
The Grammy-winning band announced today that the concert is set for Dec. 11 at The Criterion in Bricktown.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at criterionokc.com.
Local health and safety standards will be strictly observed, but the show will be a full-production live Lips extravaganza, according to a news release.
As previously reported, the art-rockers have been testing the concept of space bubble shows this year during the pandemic. The band lensed a distinctively socially distanced test performance last month at The Criterion, where both the band members and attendees were encased in the oversized bubbles that have long been Lips frontman Wayne Coyne's signature spectacle.
Although it wasn't the first time this year the Lips had played a bubbled concert for video purposes, the making of this music video went viral, creating headlines around the world and receiving extensive reporting in a wide range of outlets, including CNN, NPR, NME, Noisey-Vice, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Variety, Uproxx, NBC's "Today" show, Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, TMZ and more.
For years, Coyne - who directed the "Assassins of Youth" video - has rolled his space bubble out into the ecstatic crowds at Lips shows, allowing the fans to propel him along. It's a strange thrill to see him roll his bubble across a sea of other bubbles.
“Of course, our MAIN priority (when doing the performance for the music video) was making sure everyone was safe and all the health cautions were being enforced,” Coyne writes of the video. But there was a welcome side effect: “I forgot about how exciting and fun and ridiculous it is to do a Flaming Lips show!!! I think the video shows it!!!”
"Assassins of Youth" is from the Lips' critically acclaimed new album "American Head," which debuted in September.
Also as previously reported, Coyne's familiar plastic protective sphere suddenly took on added significance with the COVID-19 outbreak. In the early days of the pandemic, the producers of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" invited the Lips to do a remote performance on the program, and the rockers obliged by putting on a small OKC show that featured the ultimate in social distancing: all the band members and everyone in the audience - including Coyne's wife and son and OKC Mayor David Holt - were in the inflatable orbs.
"They (the late show's producers) helped us get all the space bubbles, because even though we're The Flaming Lips and we have some, we didn't have that many. So, in that performance, I think there's 26 of them that you can see, and they came from China. At the very beginning of this, nothing was coming from China," Coyne told me in an interview earlier this fall.
"I have actually gone out on the street in a couple other places in the space bubble. But I do try to be careful not to make too much of it. It (the pandemic) is not a joke, and I try not to make too light of it. It is strange. We are living in strange, strange times."
Former The Oklahoman A&E writer Nathan Poppe was among those who attended this month's bubble concert and shared his thoughts on Twitter. He was subsequently interviewed by a top-rated New Zealand radio show.
After initially unveiling the bubble concert concept with their performance of “Race to the Prize” on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," the Lips followed with a spirited rendition of "American Head" track “God and the Policeman” on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" in September, and continued their run of bubbled shows in October, appearing on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts in their newly intimate yet distant setup.
The show captured in the “Assassins of Youth” video was described as their most ambitious in the bubble yet, safely packing a hundred fans into a hometown venue.
You can read my recent interview with Coyne, including his thoughts on the space bubble in the age of COVID-19, here.
To celebrate today's announcement of the special, socially distanced, first-of-its-kind prophylactic event, the Lips shared a new video for “Brother Eye” from "American Head." The video also was filmed live at the same OKC venue - The Criterion - as a test run for the Dec. 11 show. Like the "Assassins of Youth" video, this new video also was directed by Coyne and filmed and edited by Blake Studdard for AtriaCreative.co.