Tu(n)esday: Bubbly...

As I'm sure just about everyone who is alive has had to do as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, my family has missed out on events that we would otherwise have done this year. We've missed out on sports events and museum trips and vacations and... music.

I missed out on going to the Pitchfork Music Festival and Katie missed out on an NKOTB reunion concert and I'm sure we would've taken Nathan to some sort of music concert or another.

As the pandemic lingers on with no sign of abating... at all... bands and labels are trying to come up with creative ways to share in live music. A lot of it comes in the form of streaming shows online. 

Leave it to The Flaming Lips to come up with something entirely unique. Live music! In person! In bubbles!

Wait... what???

If you've ever attended a Lips' show, like I have three times, you know that frontman Wayne Coyne likes to take a moment to encapsulate himself in a giant, inflatable gerbil ball and roll out onto the audience. It's... incredible. Especially when he rolls right over you and you touch the ball. Here's a video from one of my shows. I think this was XRT's Holiday Concert in December 2009.

Now, Coyne is playing off that idea with live shows. Put everyone into a gerbil ball! Seriously. 


This is crazy and cool all in one fell swoop. It keeps people socially distanced and puts them behind a protective barrier all at once. It also limits the number of people that can attend so it doesn't get too unruly (but also won't raise a lot of money and might force the concerts to be even more expensive than they already are).


But I also see issues with containment if the ball rips. People will need help getting into and out of the ball, which exposes them to other people in very close proximity. If the same ball is used from show to show, which I can only assume has to happen, how clean will it be? Lastly, I've been to a Lips show at the Aragon Ballroom and that was hot enough with zero air conditioning; compound it with a plastic ball and you are gonna be listening to live music in a sauna. How do you go to the bathroom? How do you dispose of garbage? How do you leave early or arrive late?


While I'm always a person to give credit where credit's due -- and this sort of thing is just crazy enough that it could work and Lips fans are nuts enough to be willing to try it, I'm sure -- there's a lot that is still up in the air. And, no, I don't mean like a bubble floating away.

I guess we'll see where this goes.

Enjoy the full video!

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Suzanne Apgar

I wonder how expensive that concert was.


As do I.

Kevin Spencer

That's so cool. Reminds me of Rammstein's Oliver Riedel who does something similar but goes out in the crowd on an inflatable raft - usually during their cover of Depeche's Stripped. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTqfTx9y2pM


That would be tough to balance. A rubber raft over a sea of hands and heads? Yikes.

Marty Mankins

I don't think I would be comfortable inside that bubble for an entire concert. It's a cool concept for COVID time, that's for sure.


I’d hate it in the bubble.

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