The Flaming Lips, a rock band from Oklahoma City, used inflatable human-sized plastic bubbles to ensure that they could host a concert in their hometown while ensuring minimal risk from Covid-19. Both the band and audience members had their own inflated plastic bubbles to maintain appropriate distancing while viewing the performance.
This isn’t new for the band though. The Flaming Lips have using a giant plastic bubble during live performances for some time now and lead singer Wayne Coyne often used it to crowd-surf at concerts. However, due to the pandemic, this time the audience members were given their own bubbles.
To do a test run prior to a full show, the band played two songs from their latest album American Head while the audience watched from their individual bubbles.
The band first unveiled their performances in a bubble in June, when they appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“I mean, it seems absurd, but we at first were just doing it as not a joke, but just as a kind of funny thing, and now it’s becoming kind of serious and real,” Wayne told Brooklyn Vegan before the show. Coyne said that they were planning on hosting concerts with 100 bubbles in a 4,000 capacity venue sometime after the US elections.
Wayne also shared images of the plastic bubbles before they were inflated.
“I don’t think anybody would have thought…in the middle of March that this is still going to be going, you know, eight months later. I think we all thought this is a month, this is maybe two months, but we’re going to get a handle on this,” the singer told CNN.
A person who attended the concert told Vice that there were organisers in protective gear who stuck leaf blowers into the bubbles to inflate them.
“It was a surprisingly quick process and they filled up the bubble in less than a minute,” the man told the website. He also said that the bubble was pretty big which prevented them from feeling claustrophobic.
The pandemic has forced live performers to consider live performances with unusual arrangements to prevent crowding. One British violinist performed on a floating stage at Prague, in Germany a group of artistes performed on rooftops, while in Britain a musician performed with each group in the audience getting their own distanced viewing platforms
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