The fans who jammed into the Belmont nightclub in Austin, Texas, to see The Flaming Lips this past March probably didn't know what hit them. The band was just weeks away from releasing a brand-new and highly anticipated record (The Terror). But instead of showcasing the new work, frontman Wayne Coyne and the rest of The Flaming Lips hit the pause button and used the intimate venue to reflect on one of their most beloved records: 2002's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. For the first time ever, the band performed the whole thing live, from start to finish, giving hundreds of wide-eyed fans a rare treat.
"We're kind of nervous," Coyne told the crowd from a stripped-down stage. The rest of the group sat huddled together with spiral notebooks, following their own notations for each track. Gone were the band's usual props: no dancers or spectacular lights, no giant balloons or confetti cannons, and no human-sized hamster ball for Coyne to roll around in over the audience. It was just the unadorned band and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, from the bittersweet opener "Flight Test" to the beautiful (and wildly popular) "Do You Realize??" to "Are You a Hypnotist," a song Coyne said The Flaming Lips had never played live at all before.
The next night, at a massive outdoor venue many times larger than the Belmont, The Flaming Lips did showcase The Terror. But this chilly night was all for remembering — and celebrating — how the band got here in the first place.
This video comes courtesy of The Warner Sound, South by Southwest and The Belmont.