The Flaming Lips kicked off their Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots tour in London last night, playing the seminal record in its entirety.
Performing in the art-deco confines of The Troxy in East London, the show saw frontman Wayne Coyne and co racing through the record, while flanked by pink inflatable robots that reflected the album’s eponymous mysterious overlords.
After opening with the warped psychedelia of ‘Fight Test’, the group delivered the record in chronological order – with Coyne ensconced inside an inflatable bubble that he previously used for Covid-safe performances during the pandemic.
As ever, confetti, lasers and a plethora of ambitious stage tricks were at the centre of the performance too. “I don’t really like gimmicks,” joked Coyne, mere moments after firing off confetti cannons while flanked by the robots.
But for all the record’s charms, it was a spirited rendition of ‘Do You Realize’ that prompted the biggest singalong of the first portion, with Coyne’s existentialist classic sounding as fresh as it did some 21 years ago.
After closing the first portion of the show, the band returned after an interval for a run-through of hits from other albums – including the surreal absurdity of ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’, the raw emotion of ‘A Spoonful Weighs A Ton’ and ‘Race For The Prize’ – a high from 1999’s The Soft Bulletin.
While the muted crowd reaction didn’t always match the band’s impassioned performance, here was a night that celebrated a musical oddity that still sounds as unique as it did in 2002. Fans heading to their Hammersmith Apollo show this Friday are in for one hell of a treat.