Last month, The Flaming Lips made headlines with their announcement of a full-fledged bubble concert in their native Oklahoma City on December 11th. The show immediately sold out, prompting the psych-pop rockers to add another the following night that also quickly sold out. Yet, even in the face of such optimistic innovation, the Flaming Lips have postponed their space bubble shows to January 22nd—23rd, 2021 in light of ever-rising COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma.
The band had tested the idea once before with a trial run at the Criterion—the same site of the proposed future concerts—to overwhelming success. That first show only featured the band playing two songs twice—presumably for recording shoot purposes—whereas these upcoming shows were set to be full concerts. The band had also showcased the bubble technology on late-night TV as well as NPR Music‘s Tiny Desk Concert series.
Frontman Wayne Coyne took to Instagram to announce the cancellation, saying,
Although the Flaming Lips have every confidence in the multitude of measures we are taking to keep you safe at our upcoming Space Bubble Concerts we have decided to postpone the December shows. The rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the Oklahoma metro area are alarming and we want to keep everyone safe.
He expanded on these precautions in a statement to Rolling Stone, noting that while the band is taking every precaution to ensure the security of the concerts, it is those that planned on traveling from outside the area that they worried about.
If you have to get on a plane, find a hotel — that’s a lot of areas that aren’t our concert. So we’re hoping by the third week in January that all this activity around New Year’s Eve and Christmas will have started to play out. Then we might be able to be in a stable position when we can say, ‘Let’s try to do these space bubble concerts.’
However, an important caveat that Coyne noted was that these bubble concerts are not just a license for fans to do anything they want, saying explicitly, “I don’t want anybody to think this is some kind of f*cking freak party.” Rather, this is a weird band’s weird attempt to make live music happen during a weird time, “But the weirdness is so we can enjoy a concert before putting our families and everybody at risk.”
All tickets purchased for the original December shows will be honored at the rescheduled January dates. Anybody who is unable to make it to the new shows or changed their mind about attending can receive a full refund through the point of purchase. See Coyne’s full post below.
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[H/T Rolling Stone]