No Ripcord - The Flaming Lips @ Cambridge Junction, July 9th, 2002
No Ripcord - Live Review:

The Flaming Lips
Cambridge Junction, 9/7/02

A great deal of thought has gone into tonight's performance and it's worth every second of brow furrowing. Wayne Coyne is on stage way before the show actually begins and this may well be a subtle device to de-mystify the whole "Rock Star" pretence, or he may simply be getting the infinitesimal finalities ready, for the circus that soon follows. He abruptly disappears like a great magician, then re-appears to a roar of adulation, flanked each side, by six foot rabbits, followed by a "Dog or a Bear" and later a frog. Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the universe within a dying world; that is The Flaming Lips.

The Junction erupts and on the screen appears "1,2,3", Do You Realise? bursts into life, like a million blue skies have just been witnessed simultaneously. Race For The Prize quickly follows and we are left with tears of pure celebratory joy drifting down our cheeks. Images of mushroom clouds orchestrated by slick haired conductors, mix with eyeballs being prodded and we almost have critical sensory overload. The band sound absolutely awe-inspiring, fleshed out slightly from the Soft Bulletin tour and almost unbelievably, sound more urgent and relevant, after nearly twenty years of psychedelic trail blazing. With a back catalogue to shame the lazy, over-hyped bullshit that passes as innovative these days; Coyne and co. would need to be majestically inept to fuck up tonight.

Sublime pop song after sublime pop song explode in strobe and smoke enhanced wonder, challenging our ears and eyes to take it all in. Then we are treated to a "great song, a massive hit" and what do we get? Only a beautifully twisted version of Kylie Minogue's Can't Get You Out Of My Head and it makes perfect sense, a stroke of absolute, cynicism free genius. Huge balloons, filled with all manner of glitter and shredded coloured paper, shower the crowd and the senses are taken to new heights of glee. By the time She Don't Use Jelly arrives, the crowd are in the throes of maniacal ecstasy, never can there have been so many smiling faces in such a small place, can there?

Sadness, psychedelia, philosophy and pure unadulterated joy - is there anything more? 10/10

Reviewed By Mark Mason

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