No, we are not in the Matrix.
The Flaming Lips are planning a performance in their hometown of Oklahoma City amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but they have a unique way of thwarting a potential spread of the virus. According to frontman Wayne Coyne, each member of the audience will enjoy the show while encapsulated in their own giant bubble, a-la Jake Gyllenhaal from Bubble Boy.
Coyne, of course, has encased himself in a plastic bubble many times over the course of his career, using it to traverse on top of crowds. The Flaming Lips also recently used the bubbles in their remote Fallon and Colbert late show sets following the onset of the global lockdown period, doling them out to a limited capacity audience for the latter performance. However, the fabled psychedelic rock band is now planning to roll them out on a larger scale for the first time.
Coyne waxed poetic about the ambitious new initiative in an interview with Brooklyn Vegan, saying that the globes will be large enough to house three people. "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," he said. "We're starting to get ready to do an actual show where yeah, there's three people in each of these space bubbles, and we play... We think maybe playing two shows a night, and getting a big audience in there each time."
Check out a photo of the Oklahoma City show's stupefying setup below.
"We, the Flaming Lips, already know how to do space bubbles and we know what people do when they’re in the bubbles," Coyne told JamBase in another interview. "The part that we’re trying to get down is what does the crowd do about going to the bathroom and getting drinks? We don’t want this to be [a super spreader event] like that Smash Mouth [concert]."
While the planned show could certainly be a watershed moment for the live music industry, Coyne asserted that safety is the most paramount concern. "We want this to be safe and a great experience," Coyne told JamBase. "Those are the things the venue is allowing us to set up so we can start to figure out how it will work. The part about playing in the bubble, we already have down. It’s how we get the crowd in and out without cross-contamination that we need to figure out, but they’re giving us a few weeks in this venue to figure it out. We’re thinking this will probably happen after the election."