On September 15, 2006 The Flaming Lips descended upon the Oklahoma City Zoo amphitheater for the band's first hometown gig in umpteen years. The fans, predictably, were ecstatic. The gig not only resulted in good times for all of us in attendance (yes, 'umble reader, I was there) but in the group's first-ever live release culled from that very special gig.
What you get ain't the whole gig as it went down on the night but something that's pretty close with little extra bits and bobs thrown in along the way末you witness fans who've come from afar discussing why they have; you capture a glimpse of legendary workaholic Wayne Coyne nailing down final details and the ever-affable Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins joking about everything that could go wrong; you witness one of America's greatest bands末living or dead末in the live arena where it eschews Rock Gawd pretensions in favor of rock's long-lost cousin, entertainment.
Like his predecessor and no doubt from afar mentor Frank Zappa, Coyne is ringmaster, toastmaster and focal point. (It'd be remiss not to mention that UFO's occasionally recalls FZ's gloriously bloated rock film Baby Snakes, albeit with all of the glory and one of the bloat.) Coyne shoots confetti guns, walks across the crowd in a giant bubble and reminds everyone in attendance that the band loves its fans and that those fans are like no others.
Here's a second to that.
What matters most here is not whether the band dispenses the hits on demand or whether there's a truly revelatory version of "The Spark That Bled"
here. As live bands go the OKC outfit doesn't pull off sonic pyrotechnics that recall Santana or the Allman Brothers at their zenith but it does invite us to a land that calls to mind the sheer wonder of rock concerts, the childlike awe that good music and good people playing good music can inspire in all of us.
Ebullient readings of "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," "She Don't Use Jelly" or even "Do You Realize?" all demonstrate all you need to know about the Lips and everything (well, virtually) that you need to love.
UFO's At The Zoo may not have the requisite heft (read: pretentious indie rock overbite) to make moist-palmed critics declare the Lips the voice of a generation but if any band deserves the title of the world's greatest末and most entertaining末rock band, it's this one. This ain't about revolution, it ain't about box office bang, it's about changing the world one hug and one smile at a time.
1. The Freaks Get Restless And Wake The Animals
2. The Mothership Descends
3.Race For The Prize
5.Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
6.Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 2
7.Should We Free The Animals?
8.Vein Of Stars
9.Hot Dog Eating Contest
10.The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
11. The Spark That Bled
12.Preparing The U.F.O. Mothership
14.My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion
15.Santas And Aliens
16.She Don't Use Jelly
17.Do You Realize??
18.How Much Red Duct Tape?
19.A Spoonful Weighs A Ton
20.Captain America Splits The Audience
21.Love Yer Brain
22. The Mothership Departs
23. The Greatest Audience In The Galaxy