The hubbs and I rang in the New Year like this, which pretty much beats most other new year celebrations around the planet.
We were in Oklahoma City to see hometown heroes the Flaming Lips' annual New Year's Freakout, following Christmas with family in Texas. For this edition, the band performed a short set of their own material and then, after midnight's (allegedly record-setting) balloon drop pictured above, they covered the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon.
The concert was amazing. The enthusiasm of the crowd was a big part of it, with many in costume as animals, skeletons, and Santas. So much was happening visually--confetti cannons, balloons bouncing all over the crowd, light effects, lasers, flashing green light necklaces around everyone's necks--that I forgot to listen to the music half the time. In fact, so much was happening visually that I came within a hair of fainting again, like the last time I saw the band play. I had to sit for a while, feeling as muddy-headed as if someone just woke me from a deep sleep, only holding on to consciousness through sheer will. In fact, I don't think I should attempt to stand in the crowd at one of their shows again, and need to have this condition looked into one fancy day when I have health coverage again. (Maybe in 2010?)
Darling husband got me a much-needed new camera for Christmas, and I'm extremely pleased with the photos I was able to take at the show. Normally most photos I take at performances come out blurry. Not so now! Now I'm even more excited for the small-venue Willie Nelson performance in Baton Rouge next week. Oh, the facial crags I shall capture!
Below, Wayne Coyne and his giant prosthetic hands, shooting beams up to the world's largest disco ball (which is seen in the photo above).
After appearing in the crowd for this giant-hand segment, Wayne and some helpers came through the crowd to the stage, and he paused for a moment directly next to me. Being someone who always misses everything, I had no idea it was one of my favorite frontmen, just thought it was jerks aggressively pushing through the crowd to the front.
Wayne had the audience set our cell phone alarms for 12:55 am before they began performing the album, so we could all contribute to the alarm clock part.
Check out Wayne in this next shot!
This side view of colored lights beaming into the arena reminiscent of the album cover of the hour, no?
The end of the show, which we took in from the rear of the arena, looked like this: beautiful.
On New Year's Day, we took a brief tour of the Bricktown area of Oklahoma City, a revitalized warehouse district of clubs, shops, and restaurants. Neither of us had been to the state before, which especially in the hubbs' case is really unusual.
After washing down sub-par food with good beer at the brewery, we stumbled upon Flaming Lips Alley.
We discovered that OK City plays up their most famous current rock export, even selling their merch in city souvenir shops.
I learned that the Lips aren't Oklahoma's only musical contribution. They also have living rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson.
And, according to a museum we passed en route to the city, Oklahoma also claims Gene Autry, the singing cowboy. Neither that museum, nor many of OK City's other attractions (war memorials, cowboy stuff, a banjo museum!?) sounded interesting to me. And if even I can't generate enthusiasm for (in the case of Autry) exhibits about oldey-tyme pop culture, there might not be much of a still-living audience for it. But maybe? Maybe there's not much else going on.
But one other thing going on in Bricktown, OK City, is Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill!, which by the way exists.
There, patriots can eat a fried bologna sandwich with Freedom Fries. (Of course they can.)
Speaking of goings-on in Bricktown, the neighborhood boasts a 7-clubs-in-1 club. Here's their dress code:
I am all for encouraging people to not dress like complete slobs who just rolled out of bed, but must say I don't get some of these banned looks, namely the bizarre hair color and excessive tattoos. I suppose the goal is that everyone should look mainstream and wholesome?
I can't avoid the word "wholesome" when describing tidy Oklahoma City. It was like a mix of the Midwest and Texas. Perusing the photos in the local publications, everyone looked wholesome: even the slutty Santa-ettes, even the guy with the neck tattoo was a babyface.
Bottom-line impression from our brief visit: Cowboys and meat.
Happy new year, everybody. Let's really get it together this year!