Best concert ever
That's all I can really say....wow. Jade and I went to St. Louis for the weekend to see Sonic Youth and The Flaming Lips at the Pageant. After getting lost in East St. Louis and fearing for our lives a little bit, we finally made it to our hotel in Forest Park. We spent the afternoon at the science museum. It was pretty cool. They had a large hands on area that reminded me of the Exploritorium in San Fransisco. Most of it was geared towards kids, but hey, I just a kid in a grown-up's body. So, I had a blast playing with all the displays. I could have spent a couple of hours more there, but it was crowded with kids. The rest of the museum was rather standard. It had the typical dinosaur exhibit and geological content....most of which isn't hands on. They had a small section about architectual engineering...which was interesting. Later that night, we had Japanese food for dinner and martinis at a cool bowling alley called Pin-Up Bowling. It was a martini bar with 8 lanes of bowling. They had Vargas pin-up girls all over the walls. Aaron would have loved it. The best thing was....no kids or teens. I had an idea for an over 21 bowling alley awhile back. It was kinda bittersweet to see it had already been done. There's nothing new under the sun. Anyway, we get to the venue and it's really nice. Twice as big as the Blue Note and much cleaner. We had the most amazing spot to stand that I've ever had at a show. we were about 20-30 feet from the stage, where the floor is raised a tier. We were at the front of the teir, so we had a clear view of the entire stage, with no heads to block our view. We held our spot with zealous determination against the mob of drunk and high people trying to push their way forward. The opening band was okay, I think they were called The Magic Numbers. Sonic Youth went on second. They were fantastic. We'd seen them before in Columbia, but this was an even more intense show. For 40 somethings, they rock HARD.
Now, on to The Flaming Lips.
I'm going to try to describe this as accurately as possible, to try to express the shear "eventfullness" of their show.
The band comes on stage. The bass player is dressed as a skeleton, the guitarist/keyboardist is dressed as a space commander, and the lead singer is in a suit. They start their first number off with a bang...literally. 2 monstrous confetti machines start spewing mass amounts of confetti in a massive explosion out over the audience, all the way up into the balcony. On the right side of the stage appear a dozen people all dressed as Santa Claus, waving handheld spotlights. Captain America was also on the right. On the left side, a dozen women dressed as sexy mini-skirt wearing aliens appear. They wore green alien masks with big eyes. They too wielded spotlights. Superman was on this side. The lead singer has this tube gun that shoots multicolored streamers all the way too the ceiling. He would use this throughout the act. All over a sudden, about 30 (at least) 2 1/2 foot diameter balloons were released on the crowd. These were batted around by the audience and the band. I have no idea how a band could play through all that chaos, but they did. Oh yeah, they had a 40 foot video screen behind the band that showed video clips and a fish-eye lens view of the singer. As they went into their second number, Captain America and Superman picked up the balloons as they landed on stage and removed them. Confetti and streamers would appear throughout the show. The go-go aliens and Santas would remain on stage for the entire show. Eventually, two giant balloons got passed around (they were about 6-10 foot in diameter). Every song they played was one I wanted to hear (with the exception of She don't use jelly). I didn't get to hear two songs from Yoshimi, but that's okay because every other song I couldn't have done without either. Speaking of Yoshimi....the singer used a puppet of a nun to sing that song. Oh yeah, he also came out with two gigantic synthetic hands on and would clap to the rythm (they were about 4-6 feet across and looked very realistic). He also blew up one more balloon on stage that was about 15 feet in diameter, and was filled with money. He blew it up till it popped and money rained down on the audience (that part made me wish I was closer to the stage). All the songs sounded great. The singer was awesome with the audience. There was a lot of dialogue with us. One of the Santa's was celebrating her 16th birthday, and he had the band and audience sing happy birthday to her. Talk about something you would never forget. That seemed to be the overall theme for the night, having a fun and unforgettable experience.
I've been to somewhere between 30-40 concerts in my life and this one was the absolute best ever by leaps and bounds. I highly recommend seeing The Flaming Lips if you get the chance. It's worth it even if you have to travel to see them. This show made me want to compile a list of the best shows I've seen. Five is too low a number, so I'll go with 7. The order is based on techincal ability, atmosphere, and stage presence.
7. Violent Femmes
6. Stone Temple Pilots
4. Jane's addiction
3. Jethro Tull
1. The Flaming Lips