Concert Review: Fang Island, Tokyo Police Club, Spoon, The Flaming Lips, July 8th, Molson Ampitheatre

Image courtesy of Jeff Denberg

I’m officially bogarting this review. You heard me right, I’m bogarting this review, which is something I have never ever done in my life before. You’re witnessing history here, folks. I’m clamoring to write about something that does not specifically benefit my self-interested bludgeoning. I’m bogarting something that is not a beer or a j.


Scratch that. Seeing as last night’s Flaming Lips show completely blew away anything I could have previously imagined in terms of concert theatrics, showmanship, and the lustre of Wayne Coyne, this is the precise definition of self-interested bludgeoning.

Two words describe the Flaming Lips’ set: HOLY FUCK. I have never seen them live before, and as much hype as you have heard about them, nothing can possibly prepare you for seeing it yourself, up close and personal. Even if you have seen them 100 times before, I can’t imagine sitting back and not being set on fire by the enthusiasm Wayne Coyne ignited last night. I’m going to run through the elements of why this show was so awesome, despite being environmentally unfriendly:

As someone who is often satisfied with the most lo-fi things in life, the special effects strewn throughout this show was a sensory overload What’s not to like about confetti canons? They make a satisfying cork pop sound, awesome shit flies out everywhere and lands on you. Some poor grounds person ends up having to sweep up tons of shit. It’s a win-win-win situation.\

A ginormous light show screen served as an awesomely bizarre Clockwork Orange-like backdrop throughout the night. Coyne had a camera strapped to his microphone that was projected on the screen inbetween giant dancing topless ladies, vaginas, vulvas, births, intercourse, bunnies, and anything else you can think of.

Image courtesy of Jeff Denberg

Dozens of brightly coloured giant balloons floated throughout the audience, reminding me of a gum ball in a dryer paradise. The most joyous part of this whole display was when the balloons volleyed over to someone who would pop it, exploding into a happy confetti show within a confetti show.

Image courtesy of Jeff Denberg

The entrance that these guys make is absolutely outrageous in the best possible way. We were treated to a giant vagina pounding on a giant screen before each band member rolled out on a platform board. Coyne got tossed around in his legendary space bubble all over people who got floor tickets, while instructing them to squish super close together so that he could roll around like an American Gladiator. If you need any further confirmation that Wayne Coyne is a performance God, look no further than his efforts in his space bubble.

You would think that after 27 years of recording and performing and 2006’s Virgin Festival abortion, Wayne Coyne and company would be more jaded than the decade that made them famous. You would be a complete fucking fool to think so, though, because this man showed more love and enthusiasm towards us than anyone you can imagine. This is a man who is on the brink of turning 50 years old, and has more bright-eyed optimism than any 3 year old I know. There wasn’t a moment where he wasn’t trying to fist pump us into a pogo-sticking screaming frenzy. And it worked. This is mob mentality done right.

If last night’s concert was the equivalent of a man and my first date with him, I’d be so under his flashy spell that he might be able to con me out of all of my assets in a day and a night. Wayne Coyne did everything in his power to get everyone scream-singing along at the top of their lungs, making various helicopter, weather, and animal noises to I Can Be A Frog, and clapping in unison. We had many conversations with Wayne that night, some involving love (“If you give love, you never have to worry about being loved.”), some involving world peace (“I want everyone to make a peace sign and direct it up into the air, shooting it anywhere for peace somewhere”), some involving dreams (“Have you ever had a dream, only to think you weren’t having a dream? Or thought you were awake, only to think you were dreaming?”), some involving the Bush Administration (“This song is about turning all of the hatred and frustration we had about George W. Bush and channeling it into our support for Barack Obama”), some involving the consumption of weed (“I smell a lot of weed tonight. Let’s pretend that in this section of the city, the Mayor of Toronto has legalized marijuana”).

In other words, there’s nothing Coyne wasn’t willing to share with us last night. Looking at his grinning face whenever he received scream-metre love back, and how genuinely touched he was (“You know hearing that sound, is the greatest sound anyone can ever hear”). It’s easy to fall in love with Wayne Coyne as a performer and a person. I don’t know shit all about him as a person, but I’m going to pretend everything I know about his surrealist, art-loving self is real and true. He has the dreamboat qualities of a real capital M Man. With longish curly hair and a full man beard to boot…yep, I’m completely smitten.

Giant hands that shot out green lasers onto ginormous twin disco balls. Need I say more?

As anyone who has sat in the back seat of my parents’ vehicle before when a Fleetwood Mac song has been playing knows, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good sing-along. The only show I can think of that, MIGHT surpass this one in terms of singing along would be the Violent Femmes show I went to back in ’98. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Do You Realize?, She Don’t Use Jelly, and The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song all strained our vocal chords.


  1. The Fear
  2. Worm Mountain
  3. Silver Trembling Hands
  4. She Don’t Use Jelly
  5. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
  6. The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine
  7. In The Morning of the Magicians
  8. I Can Be a Frog
  9. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
  10. See the Leaves
  11. Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung
  12. The W.A.N.D.

Do You Realize??

OK, I realise this has been a completely one-sided schoolgirl crush gushing about how amazing the Lips were, but I should mention that Austin band Spoon was also great (and I now really regret skipping their show with Deerhunter back in March). I was expecting dry, folk laden songs, and I was surprised how great their more electronic songs were. It’s just that after seeing Wayne Coyne and company, none of us could really remember their set. Tokyo Police Club are an even more distant memory, whom Coyne referred to as the “Tokyo Police Chaps”, also complimenting “whoever put this show together”. We missed Fang Island and the first 1/3 of the Tokyo Police Club set, but I’m not sure that it matters.

A solid 4.5 hours of top shelf rock ‘n roll was worth every cent of the $70 we paid. Officially the most expensive, and most satisfying show ever.

Posted on by Allison in Concerts, Everything, Music

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