2009 Pitchfork Music Festival – [Live]

Monday, 27 July 2009

Saturday’s 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival coverage can be found HERE.

8:03 As far as the Flaming Lips are concerned, I’ve heard crazy things about their live shows, but nothing really prepared me for this trippy ride through all the colors of the rainbow. I decided I was just going to throw down my beach mat and have a solo picnic back in the nosebleed section of the park. As the sun set, the whole park was buzzing with the unexpected. As I waited for the party, the cutest 5-year-old blonde girl passed by me and looked up at me waving “Hi!” as she walked by. I love festival kids. I wish my parents were that cool to take me to shows when I was young. On Saturday, I saw a 7-month-old baby with baby-sized ear muffs. Ok well, that’s pushing it a little. Still adorable though.

8:45 Anyway, as the show began the backdrop screen of the stage showed a psychedelic projection of an animated naked girl dancing in a playful way. But then that visual turned into a light show that ultimately was a close up of her girl parts. A door appeared at her epicenter and out came Wayne and the rest of the band. Guess you had to be there. Very artsy and visual, of course. With hardly any introduction, Wayne did his signature “hamster wheel” see-through ball crowd surfing act. It’s a lot like crowd surfing, but more like walking on people’s heads and hands via a large bubble. At that point, I decided to get closer to the spectacle. On one side of the stage there were men dressed in frog costumes and on the other side were women dressed as white cats showing midriffs. Their only job for the whole show was to dance around. I want that gig. Confetti was blasted through the air like a powerful geyser. And to add to the madness, the whole crowd was entertained with 30 or so large yellow and orange balloons to smack around. Now I know how it feels to trip on acid and I don’t have to worry about flashbacks or permanent damage to my brain stem. With each song, the stage screen featured some sort of wacky video like a man brushing his teeth or a girl eating oranges in a bathtub. Wayne’s mic had a camera attached to it so the close up of his face alone was entertaining. He’s always smiling and happy. Overall, they played only 11 songs but some highlights were “Race For The Prize” intro, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” sing-a-long and 90’s era favorite, “She Don’t Use Jelly.” For the last song, the confetti was overwhelming. Whatever mechanism that shoots confetti 50 feet into the air really should be used more often than Flaming Lips shows. You didn’t have to be in the front row to be a part of the celebration. They played a beautiful rendition of “Do You Realize” which was prolonged into a 7-minute sing-a-long. Purple spotlights swayed around and glazed over the slowly falling confetti to create a mind-numbing colorful explosion. Someone captured this moment via YouTube that includes the ending of “Jelly,” a mini heartwarming speech by Wayne and the complete “Do You Realize” performance — [watch it here] . A finale of all finales invented.

Pitchfork was great at picking out the bands for this year’s lineup. All performers had some sort of sparkle or uniqueness to them. Pitchfork has now become a well-known entity in the festival world. Hopefully, organizers will stick with the notion of handpicked artists rather then grabbing overly mainstream acts for upcoming years. It was refreshing to stumble across talent that I didn’t know existed and I think even the coolest hipsters would have to agree.

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