WORDS AND IMAGES DESH KAPUR
The Flaming Lips were in Manchester for a night of psych-pop playing the seminal album “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” in full
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots was released in 2002. The album is a concept album that tells the story of Yoshimi, a character who fights against pink robots in a fantastical world.
As I arrived at Manchester’s iconic O2 Apollo, there was already a massive line snaking down the front of the venue and right down the street. Upon entering the venue it was already nearly fun, full of bright colours and even more brightly coloured hair.
There was no support as the band played two sets, as previously mentioned the first half would be “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and the 2nd set will be all the greatest hits, and as a Flaming Lips fan you really couldn’t ask for more.
At 8.15 the countdown started on the in-house PA, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, the stage went black, the band walked onto the stage and the Apollo erupted,
Frontman Wayne Coyne manoeuvred himself into the giant inflatable orb that was first used during the pandemic and now has become synonymous with The Flaming Lips’ live performances. He was flanked by two giant inflatable pink robots that reflected the album’s mysterious overlords.
Delivering the record in chronological order, opening up with the twisted psychedelia of ‘Fight Test’ which sets the tone for the rest of the album and the rest of the night. The song is upbeat and energetic, with an electronic beat that is reminiscent of video game music. The lyrics talk about the struggle to stay positive and keep fighting, which is the overall theme of the album. The band move swiftly into “One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21,“ which is slower, introspective and more experimental sounding. Wayne Coyne’s delivery is dreamlike and almost creates a sense of unease and uncertainty,
The title track, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1,“ is next and it’s one of the standout tracks of the night, it features catchy lyrics and an earworm of a melody. The electronic beats and distorted vocals create an otherworldly atmosphere that makes the whole of the O2 feel like they are part of Yoshimi’s world.
Other highlights of the first set are “In the Morning of the Magicians,“ with its intricate instrumentation and surreal lyrics, and “Do You Realize??” which brought on the biggest singalong of the first half, this track still sounds as fresh as it did some 21 years ago. And the message of appreciating the beauty of the world around us still resonates now.
And even though it felt to me that the live playing of this album seemed to lose some of the nuances of the recorded version, the whole show is still an amazing performance and sounds brilliant, the set is a mixture of psychedelic rock, electronic, and experimental music that creates a unique and immersive listening experience for the thousands of fans gathered in front of the stage
Overall, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is a unique and innovative album that showcases The Flaming Lips’ creativity and musical talent, and it was all on show here tonight, the band managed to create a cohesive and engaging musical experience that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.
After a short intermission, it’s time for part two of tonight’s musical journey courtesy of The Flaming Lips and it was to be all the big hitters and fan favourites
‘She Don’t Use Jelly‘, is so lyrically absurd and surreal, but I still love it, the emotion of ‘A Spoonful Weighs a Ton’ and ‘Race for The Prize’. Stood out for me.
Tonight, The Flaming Lips were electrifying, spectacular, and unforgettable. Wayne Coyne was engaging at all times.
The band’s commitment to spectacle remains impressively undimmed, The Flaming Lips’ live show is a “glittering spectacle,” an immersive and dazzling experience that leaves a lasting impression on everyone that was there.
1/ FIGHT TEST
2/ ONE MORE ROBOT/SYMPATHY 3000-21
3/ YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS PT 1
4/ YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS PT 2
5/ IN THE MORNING OF THE MAGICIANS
6/ EGO TRIPPING AT THE GATES OF HELL
7/ ARE YOU A HYPNOTIST??
9/ DO YOU REALIZE??
10/ ALL WE HAVE IS NOW
11/ APPROACHING PAVONIS MONS BY BALLON (UTOPIA PLANITIA
12/ SHE DONT USE JELLY
13/ SILVER TREMBLING HANDS
15/ WHY DOES IT END
16/ WILL YOU RETURN/WHEN YOU COME DOWN
17/ ASSASSINS OF YOUTH
18/ BORDERLINE (Madonna cover)
19/ MOTH IN THE INCUBATOR
20/ MOTHER I’VE TAKEN LSD
21/ FEELING YOURSELF DISINTEGRATE
22/ A SPOONFUL WEIGHS A TON
23/ RACE FOR THE PRIZE
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My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.