We’ve seen the bubble dining, the bubble cabins, god damn bubble blowing. And you’d think we’ve seen it all in terms of bubbles, but let’s not be that naive in the world of COVID. There’s always more ways the world is turning us into functioning hamsters—and rightfully so, safety is society’s highest priority today.
In fact, bubbles may be the very solution to getting our asses back to sweaty dancing, air guitar and singing at concerts…how archaic of a word now.
The band The Flaming Lips were one of the first to introduce the idea of using their space bubbles as an answer to put on a safe show for their loving fans. They originally had their two large concerts scheduled for December. However, it was postponed to later dates in response to a rise in COVID numbers.
They rescheduled their dates for January 22 and 23 to play their set at The Criterion in their hometown of Oklahoma City. The band is no stranger to bubble performances as they had already appeared on talk shows such as The Late Show and Jimmy Fallon in their own bubble capsules earlier this year. The band even did a Tiny Desk in the fall from inside their respective bubbles.
So it wasn’t as much figuring out the bubbles for the band, but rather the logistics of getting the crowd in and out of their own personal capsules. It took months of planning to figure out the safest way to move the audience in and out of their bubbles. The procedures followed socially distant lines to enter the venue and row by row admission to their parties own personal space bubble. Each bubble fit up to three guests (in the same party).
The venue normally fits 4,000 people but only 100 space bubbles were able to fit comfortably. Though many were skeptical of lasting an entire concert in a little bubble, lead singer Wayne Coyne told Brooklyn Vegan, “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.”
They even had a preliminary trial concert in October with a live audience. Coyne told Rolling Stone, “[In October], the whole thing happened in 20 minutes from everybody being inside to everyone being blown up in their space bubble, and that’s the part of it that we wanted to work on. Once you’re in the bubble you can do whatever the fuck you want, and that’s the beauty of it. That’s what we spent most of the time figuring out. The music part of it, we got that shit down.”
The band wanted to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance as the main priority when prepping for the January concerts. Their performances weren’t to rebel against restrictions in place but simply to go back to sharing the music they love so much.
The performance wasn’t limited to live music and space bubbles, for it included a full light show, confetti, and huge balloons reading “FUCK YEA OKLAHOMA CITY” and “FUCK YOU COVID19.”
According to The Brooklyn Vegan, their first night setlist included:
Race for the Prize
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
Flowers of Neptune 6 (Live Debut)
True Love Will Find You in the End
She Don’t Use Jelly
Will You Return / When You Come Down
All We Have Is Now
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
There Should Be Unicorns
Are You a Hypnotist??
Waitin’ for a Superman
Do You Realize??
With a similar setlist at their second performance.
With both January performances proving to be a successful, safe event, who knows what the future holds for more bands and musicians testing out the precedence set by The Flaming Lips. It will be exciting and interesting to keep tabs on how the live music industry continues to try new innovative ways to safely and securely share music with the masses.
My only remaining question is: what do you do when you gotta take a piss?
Featured image source from: Facebook/Flaming Lips
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