The Flaming Lips (and Audience) in Covid-Safe Giant Bubbles

Flaming Lips Bubble Concert

Performing at the Criterion in their hometown of Oklahoma City this past week, The Flaming Lips tested out a new pandemic-safe concert idea where both the performers AND each audience member were encased in giant inflatable bubbles as the band promoted their new album American Head, while simultaneously shooting a video.

The Flaming Lips Bubble Concert

the flaming lips perform in plastic bubbles in Oklahoma

For the combination “test” concert and video shoot -the first in which both the band and the concert-goers were clad in giant plastic bubbles-  the 100 person audience was also asked to “please wear masks when not in the space bubble.”

The band’s frontman Wayne Coyne was well-prepared for the pandemic having had a thing for ‘bubbles’ since long before Coronavirus struck.

wayne coyne in bubble in the 80s
Wayne Coyne in a bubble back in the 90s.

You might have seen The Flaming Lips perform in bubbles on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon of this year back in June. For NPR’s Tiny Desk at Home series, the band also performed in individual bubbles.

The Flaming Lips on Jimmy Kimmel
The band performed on Kimmel last June in the bubbles

As a matter of fact, Wayne actually married his wife Katy in a plastic bubble!
wayne and katy coyne bubble wedding

Looking through his instagram pics, you’ll find that both he and band, have been playing around in the large plastic bubbles for well over a decade but Monday night’s performance was the first time audience members had their own plastic pods to ensure social distancing.

Flaming Lips bubble sketches
Sketches by Wayne Coyne

The concert venue in Oklahoma usually holds 4,000 people but with the giant bubbles only had space for 100.

concert bubbles oklahoma
Audience bubbles at The Criterion prior to inflation

“I mean, it seems absurd, but we at first were just doing it as not a joke, but just as a kind of funny thing, and now it’s becoming kind of serious and real,” Wayne told Brooklyn Vegan.

Baby Bloom (Wayne’s son) among the uninflated bubbles

They actually pulled it off! The start of a new normal when it comes to concerts? I’d have to see how they clean those things first…

Shop The Flaming Lips new album American Head