Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #54

#42 and the Flaming Lips cover

It’s pretty common for shows in more out of the way places to be the ones with the most enthusiastic crowds. Oklahoma then, has potential to be a right good night out. We arrive late in the day, as soundcheck has been bypassed yet again. At the top of the ramp that leads us into the bowels of the arena are three young ladies holding banners who giddily bounce and wave as the band’s vehicles swing around the corner. This is obviously not the only time this has happened, however when we emerge some hours later after the show, they are still there and they are just as excitable. I really do hope that they saw the show in between. Not just because they clearly were wonderfully bonkers about the band, but because it was a  particularly good night.

Being in the hometown of the Flaming Lips means a lot at a Coldplay gig. Not only are the band great friends with the Lips guys, but so too are some of the crew. Hoppy, who looks after Chris’s guitars worked for them many years ago. So did keyboard tech Neill Lambert (also now infamous as Chris’s spooky Halloween attacker). I pass Neill in the corridor just as Wayne Coyne is making his way into the arena. Somewhat fittingly, Neill is in the middle of building a robot out of some metal electrical casings he’s rescued from the dumpster. Proof if it were needed that we’re heading now onto the beautiful slippery slope into what is commonly referred to as tour madness. I can only imagine that by Christmas, there are going to be a lot of inane grins and wonderfully skewed mental states. In the meantime, Neill’s as yet unamed creation has been given a job in the Production Office dispensing setlists. I’m not sure he’s even seen the Talk video. Maybe it’s just subconscious…

The show itself is most enjoyable. As predicted, the crowd goes berserk even from before the intro tape and they’re clearly out for a good time. Never ones to shy away from joining in, the fellas are lifted into the high gears early on. Will particularly, seems to be attacking the kit like it’s something personal. I wouldn’t wanna be a snare drum in Oklahoma tonight…

When we get to the B-Stage, Chris introduces The Hardest Part with a line he’s used before: "It’s not the best Coldplay song, and it’s not the worst Coldplay song". Tonight though, he clearly gives it some thought, before stopping the song a few bars in to declare that the worst Coldplay song "was one of our first ever songs, that was called Ode To Deoderant". And I thought Parachutes was an oldie! You’d need to be breaking both your arms and both your legs to get to hear that one again, I reckon…

Talking of rarities, Politik ends to make way for a one-off Flaming Lips cover in honour of tonight’s guests.

(Huge thanks to Andy Bramley and the rest of the video dept for the footage!)

It only remains for the butterfly confetti to fall and it’s pretty much all over. I remember doing a festival some years ago where The Flaming Lips were playing. I think I may still have some of the confetti in the back of my racks even now. It was an utterly joyous experience watching them play. I wonder what Wayne thought of the butterflies. I hope he liked ’em. I’m just hoping Chris doesn’t decide that he wants to do the encores in a huge bubble so he can walk over the audience’s heads from now on. How the hell would we get the piano in there…?

Roadie #42