Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has been using a space bubble at shows for years to walk out atop the crowd. But when COVID-19 hit, Coyne imagined a show where the whole band and the audience were in bubbles. It started as just a drawing he made into a Flaming Lips t-shirt, and then they did actual small scale versions of it for taped performances on Colbert and Fallon to support the band's new album, American Head. Now The Flaming Lips are planning an actual concert in their hometown of Oklahoma City where the audience will be in giant bubbles.
"I mean, it seems absurd, but we at first were just doing it as not a joke, but just as a kind of funny thing, and now it's becoming kind of serious and real," Wayne tells us. "We're starting to get ready to do an actual show where yeah, there's three people in each of these space bubbles, and we play... We think maybe playing two shows a night, and getting a big audience in there each time."
It does seem wild but Wayne recently posted a photo from the unnamed venue with the uninflated bubbles spaced out on the floor. "The place that we're at at the moment, it holds almost 4,000 people, but it only holds a hundred space bubbles," Wayne tells us. "So it's a lot of space in there." He adds, "You fill them up and people can be in them for quite a while. I don't think people quite realize that. Since we have some here, we've played with them and messed with them for quite a while. I mean, even back in 2006, I would get in one of the space bubbles at the end of our big Halloween parade here, and I would walk down the street for almost an hour in one. Yeah. You know what I mean? It holds a lot of air. I mean, you can be in there for quite a while. I just don't think people quite realize what it is as a mechanism. But we've just messed with them for so long, we kind of know that it can all work and how it can work and all that."
As for the more practical logistics of the show, Wayne told Jambase that is the stuff they're still working on. "We don’t want this to be [a super spreader event] like that Smash Mouth [concert]. We want this to be safe and a great experience. Those are the things the venue is allowing us to set up so we can start to figure out how it will work. The part about playing in the bubble, we already have down. It’s how we get the crowd in and out without cross-contamination that we need to figure out, but they’re giving us a few weeks in this venue to figure it out."
Wayne says the show, once everything's worked out, will happen some time after the election. "It's a bizarre situation for sure," Wayne tells us. "I mean, I'm not suggesting the whole world should do it this way. I'm just saying the Flaming Lips can try it this way, and if you like our music, you can come see us. You'll have to be in one of these space bubbles, but maybe that'll be a good thing."