A good friend and band mate whom I will call “Len” because that’s his name sent me an email the other day saying, “Here is the answer Boys!”
I clicked on the link he sent and I had to look twice, have another gulp of coffee and then look again. It was a rock concert – on Mars? There were giant bubbles on the dance floor, dozens of them, and inside each bubble was one, two or three human people. And on the stage, each of the musicians was in their own giant bubble with their instruments. And they were rockin’ out like any other concert. It was, well, weird.
The band is The Flaming Lips with which I was largely unfamiliar but is apparently well known for its weirdness. According to the interweb, they are an American “psych-rock” band founded in the 1980s. How weird are they? Well, their first major album release was called Hit to Death in the Future Head and subsequent one was titled Clouds Taste Metallic. Their music was featured on the TV show Beavis and Butt-Head, and their YouTube videos often feature people dancing in Easter bunny costumes and the band singing whilst brushing their teeth.
And their strange songs aren’t really my cup of coffee, but the bubble concert idea in the midst of all this COVID weirdness, when you really think about, might not be that wacky after all. The fairly outrageous frontman of the band, Wayne Coyne, sounded almost normal when he said, “The weirdness is so we can enjoy a concert before putting our families and everybody at risk.”
Seems logical. Sort of. Hey, we’re all in a bubble of some kind, so why not take it one hundred percent literally?
But before our little band bubbles-up for a concert I wondered how it all worked, and maybe you do too. You may have seen these big plastic bubbles that kids get into and roll around on the water at Bower Ponds, well these are more or less the same thing. At the concert each of the hundred bubbles has a large zipper and once someone crawls inside, the bubble is inflated with a leaf blower. Inside each round rock pod is a high-frequency speaker, water bottle, fan, towel and a two signs.
Yes, the person or persons inside can hold up a sign that says either “Hot in here” or “I gotta go pee,” whereupon a venue employee will (hopefully) come and pump cool air into the bubble with said leaf blower or let the pod person out and guide them to a bathroom.
It takes about 20 minutes for all 100 ticketholders to get into their bubbles and there’s (supposedly) “over an hour and ten minutes” of oxygen to breath before your personal plastic play pod has to be “refreshed.” And the towel is actually for wiping the inside surface of your crazy concert cocoon on account of condensation. Hmmm.
There’s no word on how the bubble bound musicians managed to make music but I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubble (sorry) by being a bit skeptical. I mean, I’m pretty sure a little thing called “claustrophobia,” not to mention “suffocation,” might be a bit of a bummer for band bubble boys.
But you never know. We usually have a fun fundraising concert at the Elks Club every June, but we’ve had to reschedule again and again. Maybe a plastic performance is a plausible possibility? We’ve been trying to make it work by thinking outside the box; maybe next time we’ll have to start thinking inside the bubble.
But what would the first song be, I wonder. Tiny Bubbles or I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles?
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.