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  THE FLAMING LIPS w/ Folk Implosion  
  The Knitting Factory  
  Los Angeles, CA  
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First off, let me say that I am not the biggest Flaming Lips fan there is. In fact, up until just now I have only owned one of their records. Since seeing them, I have become a fan.

I arrived at the show in Hollywood to massive amounts of people in and around the venue. Celebrities galore including Elliot Smith, Beck, Matt Stone (South Park), Giovanni Ribisi, etc. So, we all know what kind of show I was in store for, right? After fighting my way through the throngs of people I finally made it into the main space. I was pleased to find that there weren't many people inside yet and I would be able to get a nice line of sight.

Lou Barlow appeared on stage to sparse applause from the audience, and began to play a poignant acoustic number to the silent crowd. Lou was eventually joined by the other guitarist of Folk Implosion. They played a couple of songs to the crowd's delight, until the rest of the band arrived on stage. The Folk Implosion of today is not your Natural One of yesteryear. They are now a much mellower act, but have not lost one bit of their groove. The songs are touching and not non-sensical, which in turn made the audience seem more serious and attentive. After several songs, Lou Barlow announced that it was his birthday, and that it was time for him to leave and allow the rest of the group to rock out. They did so for a couple songs, until making way for The Flaming Lips.

On stage, lead Lip Wayne Coyne seems like he is having more fun than any man should be legally allowed to have. He walked out with the rest of the band dressed as large white bunnies, and thanked everyone for coming. He also thanked Lou for graciously performing on his birthday. Then suddenly, Conan O'Brien's melon appears on the giant screen behind the band to announce the first track from the new Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots....

Those who have seen The Flaming Lips before know to expect the unexpected, and the performance on this night certainly yielded plenty of unexpectedness. They flawlessly performed several old songs, and included a delightful cover of Kylie Minogue's Can't Live Without You. They also played plenty of new songs to satisfy the curiosity of the crowd.

Images too many and too whacky to recall appeared throughout the night on the screen. These included scenes from Time Bandits and Cool Hand Luke, among many others. This was the complete Flaming Lips performance with fake blood, flying monkey hand puppets, smoke, and loads of confetti filled balloons supplied to the crowd by roadie "Dog-bear" and Wayne. Never have I left a concert with such a large smile and a shiny happy attitude as on this night.

I recommend seeing The Flaming Lips to anyone who even remotely likes music. Even if you do not own any of their records, the show is extremely enjoyable and always memorable. The only flaw I can find is that a lot of the music is pre-recorded, but there is so much going on musically that this is inevitable. In a day and age when bands obviously sell-out to appease the public, The Flaming Lips keep doing it their way, while inventing new ways to entertain.

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