'Milk It A Little Longer For Me': Watching The Flaming Lips' Attempt To Make The Record Books
When news broke that the Flaming Lips were going to play eight separate shows in 24 hours in an attempt to eclipse a Guinness World Record set by Jay-Z, the collective response was something along the lines of, "Well, of course they are."
Greg Campbell/Getty Images via Text100
The Lips have done so much bonkers shit up to this point in their long careerfrom releasing a live album on a USB drive encased in a bubblegum-flavored gummy fetus to the release of a 24-hour long song available for sale on a hard drive stuffed inside an actual human skullthat few things they do can really be seen as surprising.
But when I received a press release announcing the world record attempt and the fact that the whole thing was going to be livestreamed, I knew that this ridiculous and gimmicky thing deserved, nay begged for, a ridiculous, gimmicky response: I was going to watch the whole thing, livetweeting the whole way, and keeping notes on my thoughts and what was sure to be my mental collapse around hour 18.
What follows is culled from those notes and my tweets, and timestamped (in PT) for your entertainment and edification. You can surely find videos from the eight Lips shows and everything in between to, I guess, play along at home. I wouldn't recommend it, though. Even though it involved a band I generally admire, it was one hell of a slog.
4:30 p.m.: It's already promising to be a long 24 hours. The stream takes far too long to get loaded and running. When it finally does, the Lips are onstage in Memphis, halfway through "Girl, You're So Weird," a track from Heady Fwends. A dozen girls on either side of the stage are dancing in Dorothy costumes. I just finished my first Red Bull.
4:52 p.m.: First rendition of "Do You Realize??" and first blast of the confetti cannons.
5:00 p.m.: I found out much too late that the Lips aren't the ones controlling the livestream. They've partnered with the O Music Awards, Viacom's attempt to maintain their relevance in the music world by "honoring" musicians and web developers for doing important stuff. (Sample awards: Hottest Music NILF, Too Much Ass For TV, Must Follow Artist on Twitter.) So instead of interspersing concerts with screenings of Christmas on Mars or footage of people in animal costumes dancing, what we get instead is a Coyne and relentlessly chipper host Alison Haislip on a bus uncomfortably chatting, and then quick jumps to comedian Jim Florentine hanging out in New Orleans (the final stop of this adventure) with a burlesque dancer and a fortune teller. Y'know?! Cuz it's N'awlins!!
5:07 p.m.: For those of you who care about such things, Wayne wears pink boxer briefs.
5:12 p.m.: First stop: Sun Studios. Haislip asks with a straight face what the place "is all about." In the main room, Karmin.
5:17 p.m.: Tweet: Karmin is Best Web-Borne Artist... is that like a Web-Borne Disease of some kind? From the sound of the music, I'd say yes.
5:46 p.m.: Second stop: a fireworks stand. And, hey, who's working behind the counter but none other than Jackass star Chris Pontius! This whole thing has the feel of a really shitty variety show.
6:03 p.m.: The OMA website offers up three channels to watch, including one that is just a static shot of the livestream's control room. I've become instantly obsessed with Ivan, who looks like a skinnier Anthony Rapp and seems in a constant state of distress.
6:18 p.m.: Jim Florentine asking the important questions of this fortuneteller: "Will someone drop a deuce on the bus?" Cut to the bus: "We were just talking about Bigfoot."
6:25 p.m.: Alison wants to play "Phone-A-Friend," where everyone tries to get a famous person on the phone. Wayne looks understandably uncomfortable at the idea. Pontius talks about the worst celebrity he ever met, pronouncing her name: "Ellen Dee Gen-air-us." Alison eventually gets Chuck star Zach Levi on the phone for some uncomfortable banter.