Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Queen {{{{Karma}}}} and the Fearless Freaks descend upon the irony and break the Camel's back

Some crap opening band and The Flaming Lips; Amos' Southend, Charlotte, NC 10-3-07

From the onset, the irony of this show was more than abundant. What were the Flaming Lips doing in Charlotte? Why were they being sponsored by King Cancer (Camel Cigarettes)? And just how the heck was Amos’ going to be able to handle the production that is a Flaming Lips live show? These are heavy questions. Heavy like the decision I had to make an hour or so before the show kicked off, which is part of the Karma Payment Plan. But, before we discuss that, join me at the spiritual origins of this bizarre night.

I get emails on a lot of crap. A lot of that crap I volunteered to receive, maybe a moment of weakness, maybe a need to have that comfort of a nonempty inbox or perhaps I had been over served and was a sucker for a freebie. Regardless of what triggered the email, I got the notification that the Flaming Lips were headed to the Queen City, bought my ticket, forwarded the link to my show going pals and went about my morning. Minutes later the alarm sounded and news hit that the show had already sold out. Damn. It appeared I was going solo…solo into the land of freaks with big hands and bigger balloons. I’ve done the solo show thing before, so I shrugged it off and figured I would just make the most of it. {{{{The Ironic Karma strikes}}}}

How did it sell out so fast??? Well kids, Camel, in all their legislative, ingenious, smooth Turkish blend might, decided they would release hundreds of free vouchers to redeem at the door for entry of present party plus one guest. In a way they were told, hey our venue holds X amount of people, they took that as, hey you’re Camel, fuck it, invite everybody, if they can’t get in, shrug it off and make the most of it. {{{{Instant Karma is gonna get you}}}}

iEnter the bizarre night…

Slamming down a Jager Bomb at an adult arcade and sports bar, I contemplated my participation on the on the next round, opted out and keened in on the conversation the third party of my group was having with a pregnant bartender ??Ironic?? It was girl talk about naming a baby, but given the circumstance the topic seemed intriguing so I stayed attuned. We had stopped off here as the fake ticketed angry mob that wrapped around the adjoining venue was a discomforting sight and I was unprepared to tackle the beast without a healthy buzz aglow. Mr. P grabbed the round and we set foot to stake our place in line; soon to subscribe to the Karma Payment Plan.

If you’ve ever had an !!awakening!! at a show before, where the moment of all that is possible in live performance smacks you in the face, then you might understand why those who go to great lengths to see shows do their thing. Mr. P (as to protect Parker Williams’ cover) is once such person, so much so that he dropped a pretty penny to get two in the door for the Lips. It just so happens that this particular penny was worth $150. It also just so happens that this penny was for all intensive purposes a shame and granted no guaranteed entrance to the show. --IS IT GETTING HEAVY?, I thought it was already heavy as can be-- But then, on top of that, it just might also just so happen that two hipsters in line ahead of us felt the pain of the situation, and feeling privy to the wrong that had been done sought to do right and in so doing offered up their tickets with spot in line to Mr. P. {{{{That’s Karma babe}}}}

Rejuvenated, focused and pumped for the onslaught, our tragedy with the faulty tickets had been adverted…for ten minutes, actually five, but it was about 10min until I realized that I was the solo of the threesome to have entered the venue. Damn. It appears the Karma Payment Plan just took a second mortgage out on the tickets and my companions were swept away to stand in line with the peasants and groundlings with their Camel hand tickets…pathetic. Bizarreness shows light.

Back on track with my original plan of being solo, I shrug it off and decide to make the most of it…aka buy myself two beers. Photo booths, tye dye shirt stations, make your own posters a real circus of Lips paraphernalia was all around as I surveyed the scene, grasping for a familiar face but finding none. I don’t smoke, but I was close to tasting the sweet leaf and sucking down the irony. My date of birth, street address, SS#, checking account #, waist size and favorite color struck me as little too much info to release to King Cancer for a pack and having not done that second Jager Bomb I wasn’t fuzzy enough to be a sucker for the freebie so I stayed true to the brew. {{{{Ironic Karma, round two}}}

I find a safe spot, near the stage, under the cascade of balloons and arms length from the bar. Solo. Karma’s a bitch!

The opening band sucked and I mean really sucked. The haze of Camel smoke hung heavy in the overstuffed room, condensing and raining irony upon my head. The attempt at a band wrapped their noise up, I cursed the bartender for not stocking Miller High Life and stood pouting, second guessing my belonging in the line with the peasants and their secondhand tickets. Solo.

It’s a goodtime for Superman to lift the sun into the sky.

Karma Payment Plan pays dividends = Mr. P cashes out. Reunited and it feels so good!

Sorting out the details, most of which I ignored, the threesome were back and stronger than ever, ever of course being 20min ago. The crowd squeezed near the stage, Mr. P held ground with wide stance and Andre the Giant unleashed the quote of the night; “I’ve hated this band long before it was cool to hate this band. {{{{5…4…3…2…1 IRONY!!!!}}}}

The show itself was as expected. They played the hits, Wayne was on point and the Charlotte audience was for the most part oblivious and worried about being late to their banking jobs in the a.m. All of which begs one to ask What were the Flaming Lips doing in Charlotte? Why were they being sponsored by King Cancer (Camel Cigarettes)? And just how the heck was Amos’ going to be able to handle the production that is a Flaming Lips live show?

-No clue
-Ironic Irony (aren’t you paying attention?) –A spoonful can weigh a ton!
-It isn’t and it wasn’t (Karma Payment Plan keeps your down payment for damages incurred)

With all your power, what would you do???

It’s not that the band wasn’t great, they were. They played a slew of songs covering the bizarre career of a bizarre band on a bizarre occasion. They dug deep into the material, any true fans dream. They had the kids in costume, they had confetti, the crowd played aimlessly with laser pointers (I brought mine left over from earlier in the year), they had balloons, and they had the big screen flashing the absurd and misconstrued. It was all there, and it wasn’t there at all…at the same time. {{{{Ironic Irony}}}} There were those fans that lived and breathed this band and this was a true event. There were those folks who were there because they heard it was the thing to do, these people were in the back and they nonchalance frustrated Wayne throughout the evening. Let me get some action from the back section, anybody rockin', not perfection?

Expectations were high. Expectations were not met. Night a failure? Hardly.

There’s a lot to be said about a show like this (clearly, see above). Some things are not meant to be. Lips and Big Tobacco. Some things are meant to be. A positive outlook and good people coming together. Sometimes you ask for a lot and get something far less. Other times you get more than you asked for or deserve and you get it when you least expect it. That’s Karma. That’s a live show. That’s the Flaming Lips. It’s all part of the Payment Plan. And that my friends, well that’s Ironic.

As far as giving the guy who bought me a Jager Bomb a ride home, well that’s {{{{Ironic Karma}}}}

You realize the sun doesn't go downIt's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round


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