Review: The Flaming Lips Bring Color and Unicorns to the Paramount Theater

Excited fans gathered at the Paramount Theater to catch The Flaming Lips‘ Seattle stop on their ‘There Should Be Unicorns’ tour. Sometimes one can forget that the band attracts an audience who is very ready to dress up and party like no tomorrow. That’s probably one of the best things about them, they project a euphoric sensation at every show onto which everyone wants to hold.  Tonight was no exception, with a sighting of Santa Claus in the front row.

The Dutch band Klangstof opened the show and turned heads left and right with their sound. Most had never even heard of them before but were very surprisingly delighted to catch them. They played tunes off their debut record, Close Eyes to Exit, and many compared Koen van de Wardt’s voice to an early Thom Yorke. It reminded me a lot of the ethereal feel Sigur Ros brings to their live shows. Klangstof is very much worth checking out if you can.

Finally, it was time for the main act, and already fans screamed loudly in anticipation of what was to ensue. The background of the Paramount was covered by a couple huge screens, which spanned top to bottom, with the front of them covered with a curtain-like design. Wayne Coyne stepped out, starting with “Race for the Prize” as a plethora of huge balloon balls and confetti filled the main floor. The disco ball circled around the top while geysers filled the stage with smoke as the extravagant show commenced. If there was a prize for best way to start a show, Coyne would win; he made everyone in the room smile in seconds and kept it that way for the duration of the set.

“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt.1” followed and three blow-up dolls came out to the stage dancing along to the vivid visuals and strobe lights. It would be a little unfair to name the tour after the song “There Should Be Unicorns” and not actually have unicorns. For the third song, Coyne came out riding a unicorn wearing rainbow inflatable wings. The prop was pushed down a ramp that led to the main floor, and he performed the entire song going around the GA area. The magical unicorn was designed with different lighting patterns that changed during the song as Coyne smiled kindly throwing confetti glitter from his side pocket.

Along with their own songs, a highlight of the night was when Coyne getting into a plastic airtight ball and was lifted around by the adoring crowd, covering Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” He shared that they added the song on their setlist after he passed and they never felt the need to remove it. Even when they agree they won’t play it they do it regardless and it looks like they won’t be stopping anytime soon.

There was a no phone/recording policy at the show, and it was very surprising to see that most people didn’t go against it. It’s always weird to look in the audience now and see it dark after being so used to the cell phone lights. The band was completely giving one hundred percent to the fans and doing everything possible for everyone to leave more happy than when they came. They appeared to be in a great mood, really enjoying the performance, and in return the fans did the same. Their shows are intensely fun and it is always a good idea to attend when they come through town.

Sophia Barkalakis

Music is probably the most important part of her life. Sophia is constantly searching for new material, old and new. Always looking forward to the next live show she can attend, ready to immerse herself in the sound. "There is something so magical about attending a live show that you cannot possibly feel from a recording itself that makes it worth going to", she says. She also says she's lucky to be able to combine her passion for music with her obsession of capturing moments. She finds that being able to look at a photograph and be transported to that second of your life is indescribable and she's so grateful for all those great moments.

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