The Flaming Lips have played two hometown shows in Olklahoma City with the entire audience and band enclosed in plastic bubbles.
During the 300-capacity concerts at The Criterion (cap. 4,200), on 22 and 23 January, the veteran indie band took Covid-19 safety measures to a new level.
The ground floor of the venue was divided into a 10×10 grid, with a bubble inside each square (pictured below). Each of the 100 plastic capsules was able to accommodate three concertgoers, and inside fans were provided with a speaker, a fan, water and a towel.
Concertgoers were also given signs inside the pods so they could indicate to attendants if they needed to leave the capsule for any reason. They could also indicate if a pod became too hot, so that the bubble could be refilled with cool air.
The bubbles held enough oxygen for three people to breathe for more than an hour and 10 minutes before needing to be refreshed. The towel was provided to wipe down condensation.
The concerts had been postponed from their original December dates as a result of a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the city prior to Christmas.
The band’s frontman Wayne Coyne, who has for many years climbed inside plastic bubbles at the band’s shows to roll around on top of audiences, told Rolling Stone, “It’s a very restricted, weird event. But the weirdness is so we can enjoy a concert before putting our families and everybody at risk.
“I think it’s a bit of a new normal – you might go to a show, you might not, but I think we’re going to be able to work it out.”
The shows were filmed by a crew including cameraman Nathan Poppe, who documented the process of putting the show together on Twitter – see images below.