The Flaming Lips – Manchester Academy (January 22, 2017)

You know what its like, you go for a walk in the woods and fall down that bloody rabbit hole again.

As you fall you remember the last time this happened; you almost became imprisoned by the Red Queen, you know, the one that walks backwards and lives above a kebab shop in Lazytown. Luckily you were saved by a somewhat sweaty Japanese student in a giant black gorilla outfit.


You finally land uncomfortably on a bed of rice and a sea of beer and stumble toward a big cow shed made of drugs and dry roasted nuts. There’s two girls on a stage playing not very good music so you watch a fight and go and look for unicorns.

A wizard with a grey beard appears and you party like it’s 2099, driving an invisible car made of milk chocolate into a cave full of weeping men. A small yellow duck appears on your head, its powers will be revealed later. Steve Coogan laughs and you sing Space Oddity at the top of your voice.


Stars explode and a giant rainbow appears. The wizardy man floats off inside a bubble of love and you solve the Fermi Paradox.

Where are all the aliens? ?

They’re already here.

Look! A man on a somewhat immobile unicorn.

Making contact using variable sound vibrations, The Flaming Lips have a message for humanity. But you are so primitive you cannot understand it. Fortunately that small yellow plastic duck of destiny translates for you and the assembled throng. Sadly no one is listening as everybody is dancing badly to something that sounds like Passover by Joy Division.


The wizardy man makes deep pronouncements. A keyboard blows up and you find the words ‘make it a double please’ coming out of your mouth with increasing regularity.

Vertical curtains of illuminated light send beams of pure joy into the throng. There are cannons. There is a ticker tape supernova.


You’ve seen it all before. You love it. You forget there is a big ginger twat in The Whitehouse. You live briefly in a world of light, love and unity (and shit unicorns).

Do you realize? was so fucking moving. But it always is, just ask Alice.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes


John Haylock

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