NO!: THE FLAMING LIPS (#311, SEP 8 2007).

The Flaming Lips

"Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1" (24.6 MB)
from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Willow Island
Madison, WI
September 8, 2007

An autobugle looks almost exactly like a regular bugle, unless you're looking right into the bell. If you do, and the light is right, you'll see two little LED's, and if you look closer you'll see a speaker. The autobugle is a bugle that's had a machine inserted into it, which automatically plays a recording of "Taps"; it was invented because there aren't enough buglers in the military to cover all the military funerals going on these days. At any given service the bugler off in the distance may just be pressing a button and standing there until the thing stops playing.

I don't know how Wayne Coyne got hold of one of these things, but he did, and its incorporation into the show was one of several extremely touching moments. He'd brought it out earlier, playing it -- without explanation -- over a partial cover of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," which is not the easiest thing to hear "Taps" through. Later in the show he pulled it back out and explained what it was. While his bandmates played an unresolved dirge, he pressed the autobugle to his third eye and turned it on. After an earlier extended riff on George Bush and the sudden provenance of "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" as a protest piece (really?), I think the audience appreciated this gesture a lot more. It was showing, not telling, and it's something that I think a lot of us have a reflexive reaction to. In my high school years, I played "Taps" at a number of military funerals -- on a trumpet, not a bugle, and when they couldn't get a real bugler to trek up to the UP -- and it means something. As symbolism, it creates a reality that literalism couldn't.

The shows other best moments were in many ways symbolic as well. This version of "Yoshimi Pt. 1" came courtesy of a synthesized toy piano sound and the voices of thousands of people acting as one. Drummer Kliph Scurlock's gigantimous hands extended the dream-state a bit, and along with the set-closing and widely tear-inducing "Do You Realize??" and encore of "She Don't Use Jelly," made for a communal experience that belied the capacity crowd and half-hour we spent waiting in the parking lot afterwards. That they have made bringing this from town to town into a successful commercial enterprise is testament to the occasional awesomeness of us all.

Posted by Aaron S. Veenstra ::: 2007:09:12:08:00

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