If not for flowing strands of silver tinsel, tacky paper tiaras, and roving packs of fully padded Santas, the crowd inside Oklahoma City’s Cox Convention Center on New Year’s eve could have easily passed for a giddy audience of Halloween revelers.
It was party time in the land of the Flaming Lips, as the countdown to 2010 began.
Once the house lights dimmed, a tangerine-colored woman flickered to life on the semicircular video screen behind the stage and started dancing, her DayGlo undulations escalating to parted knees and a hypnotic swirl superimposed over her digitized labia.
Then the Lips emerged, Steven Drozd, Kliph Scurlok, and Michael Ivins taking their places on stage as frontman Wayne Coyne rolled his giant plastic hamster ball out upon the crowd.
The Lips offered up fan favorite “Race for the Prize,” then launched into other mainstays like “The W.A.N.D.,” “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song,” and “She Don’t Use Jelly,” as well as transfixing tracks like “In the Morning of the Magicians and “Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung.”
Messier were songs from 2009’s enigmatic album Embryonic, “Silver Trembling Hands” and “Convinced of the Hex.” But the crowd seemed largely convinced by the drone of the new material.
Coyne then led the crowd through a “Do You Realize” sing-along just before midnight, as hundreds of massive balloons cascaded down onto arena seats amid a flurry of confetti and kissing couples.
After a long break, the Lips returned to the stage with local band Stardeath, which is led by Coyne’s nephew Dennis. The musicians played live the project they recently recorded together: A track-by-track rendition of Pink Floyd’s iconic 1973 concept album Dark Side of the Moon.
The Dark Side performance was bright throughout, thanks to a large mirror ball that loomed and whirled above the audience like a superhuman eye. The set was interspersed with spoken word elements put to tape by post-punk poet and former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins.
Instructed by Coyne, audience members synchronized their cell phone alarm clocks to 12:55 a.m., which provided the requisite chiming for “Time.” The Lips and Stardeath then used megaphones to propel a jittery version of “Money.”
Referring to the full moon, Coyne urged audience “lunatics” to let loose throughout the somewhat spooky “Brain Damage,” which reverberated throughout the arena.
Finally, the Dark Side faded into the early morning of a new decade with “Eclipse,” which pulsed into electronic heartbeats, more falling balloons and, of course, confetti, which for the Flaming Lips and their frenzied fans has come to mark a fresh beginning at the end of every weirdly uniqueshow.