Review: The Flaming Lips and Primus at Red Rocks, 8/3/11

Categories: Concert Reviews

Brandon Marshall

Dressed in a gold skin tight outfit with translucent wings attached and wearing a green wig, Lizzy Allen of local act Vitamins came out to fully belt it out on "Great Gig in the Sky." Allen, who's sat in with the Lips on other Dark Side of the Moon gigs, seriously sounded amazing. Before going into "Money," Coyne said: "Money can change people for the worst. Money corrupts all good things. But it also talks about all the cool shit you can do with money." During the song Coyne threw out giant white balloons filled with money.

Brandon Marshall

"This is the scene where Dorothy is being held by the Wicked Witch of the West and the Lion and the Scarecrow and the Tin Man and Toto rush those weird green guards, steal their uniforms and go and rescue Dorothy," Coyne said just before the Lips played the tune, which they dedicated to Primus, and oddly enough the rendition kind of evoked the patented sound of the co-headliners. Just before an expansive and sprawling version of "Us and Them," Coyne said, "It makes us think what the fuck does it all mean.I wish I knew because if I knew I would tell you. I think it's something in this next song."

As the night came to the end, the Lips threw in one more Wizard of Oz song, which Coyne said that everybody thinks they know the words to this song, but the minute that you sing it on your own you realize that you don't really know all the words" and then started "If Only Had a Brain."

Brandon Marshall
Ah, yes, there's nothing quite like a ticker tape parade to boost your spirits

After rounding out the Dark Side of the Moon, the band came back for just one encore, "Do You Realize??" While the Lips played, multiple canons shot confetti a good twenty or thirty rows into the crowd, making for an magnificent way to close out a hell of a night.

Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall
Les Claypool is still a bass ace

Earlier in the night, Primus, who formed around the same time as the Flaming Lips in the mid-'80s, delivered a solid co-headlining set and got many fist pumping and people jumping up and down early in the set with cuts like "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers" and "Tommy the Cat." Original drummer Jay Lane, who spent many years away from Primus performing with Rat Dog and Furthur, re-joined the trio last year and his playing sounded like it was at a completely different level then when he first played with the group.

Brandon Marshall
drumming on an entirely different level

Bassist and frontman Les Claypool and guitarist Larry LaLonde brought their A-game as well, especially on cuts like "My Name is Mud" and "Over the Falls." Describing this current jaunt as the "guinea pig tour," Claypool said the trio was trying out new material, including "Lee Van Cleef," obviously a nod the actor who appeared in many western, including The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Brandon Marshall
Guitarist Larry LaLonde swinging his axe



Bookended by two inflatable astronauts, which looked like the vintage MTV space guys, Primus also took advantage of the Flaming Lips' LCD screen and used abstract visuals that moved and changed in synch with whatever the band was playing, sort of like an older version of the iTunes Visualizer.


Personal Bias: This was my third time seeing the Lips at Red Rocks and just the combination of the band and the venue is damn near magical.

By the Way: There weren't as many people dressed up as at previous Red Rocks shows. (See our 20 Best Dressed Flaming Lips Fans slide show)

Random Detail: The group of middle-aged bikers standing next me were fully digging the Lips' set.

Location Info


Red Rocks Amphitheatre

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO

Category: General

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