Dancing in confetti with The Flaming Lips in St. Louis

The Flaming Lips recently made a stop in St. Louis for their American Head Tour. The sold-out show at The Pageant featured a theatrical mixture of blow-up robots, rainbows and, of course, confetti. Opening the show was a rock band from Cincinnati called the Heartless Bastards, led by songwriter and front-woman Erika Wennerstrom. The band’s sound lands somewhere between rock, soul and blues. Wennerstrom’s voice — sometimes soulful, sometimes harsh — rose above the often-discordant tone of the band. Fans had a raucous good time as the band took them through a range of heartfelt songs that can hardly be squeezed into just one genre.

After that, it was time for all the magical glory that is The Flaming Lips.

Frontman Wayne Coyne and friends took the stage. The show was chockfull of different props and surprises for the crowd. Before the first song, Coyne threw a toy bird into the air above the crowd and shined a light on it as it fluttered gracefully through the air. Once the show started, he retreated inside his trademark bubble and serenaded the crowd as confetti cannons showered the audience with rainbow papers. As the second song began, a giant inflatable rainbow, which was wider than the entire stage, was erected. Stunning visuals danced on the screen as the band rocked out under the rainbow. A few songs later, another massive inflatable — this time in the size of giant pink robot, easily doubling the height of Coyne — was brought to its feet onstage. Coyne, now out of his bubble, danced around the robot and fired more confetti into the audience, using smaller hand cannons for more precise distribution of the festive material this time.

This is all just a small sample of the fantastical elements that make up a Flaming Lips show. Wayne and friends blur the line between concert and circus when they perform, yet, somehow, find a way to keep the joyous tone of their music front and center throughout. Music fans young and old will all find something to marvel at and every single person who attends the show is guaranteed to leave with a smile on their face. As Coyne himself said to the crowd, “Look around, look at all the smiling faces. I want you all to know you’re currently in the happiest, most fun place on the entire planet. That’s what you get at a Flaming Lips show!” It’s hard to disagree with him — the tone in the sold-out venue was most definitely ecstatic. As the show came to an end and more confetti rained down on the crowd singing and dancing below, it is hard to imagine a happier place.

Be sure to catch the pure unadulterated joy of The Flaming Lips as they finish their American Head tour in the US, Canada and the UK this year!

Photography by Sean Rider

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