Opening Night, Flaming Lips, NBA to welcome 2009 in downtown Oklahoma City
Flaming Lips fans ring in the New Year at the Lips’ 2007/2008 concert at the Cox Convention Center. The Oklahoma City-based Grammy-winning band will again play the downtown convention center on New Year’s Eve 2008/2009. (The Oklahoman Archives photo)
From Saturday’s The Oklahoman. Entertainment Editor Gene Triplett contributed to this story.
2009 will roll in with downtown fun
For the 22nd year, Opening Night will turn downtown Oklahoma City into a sprawling New Year’s Eve party complete with musicians, magicians and of course, revelers.
But snow tubing, professional basketball and a giant hamster ball also will be part of the fun for those who want to start 2009 in downtown.
“New Year’s Eve the place to be is downtown Oklahoma City, and Opening Night is just one of the fabulous layers of entertainment,” said Peter Dolese, executive director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, which organizes Opening Night.
For the second year, Oklahoma City-based Grammy-winning band The Flaming Lips will ring in the New Year in the Cox Convention Center with psychedelic rock, bizarrely costumed dancers and frontman Wayne Coyne’s huge plastic sphere. Last year’s show was part of Opening Night, but this year it is separate.
Dolese said the council is focusing on showcasing the community’s new or lesser-known performers rather than putting on a big concert.
“We want to bring lots of people down here to see lots of great performers who also work in Oklahoma City full time,” he said. “The Flaming Lips is an international act. … I loved working with them, but they need to go ahead and do their own thing and they’re doing it. We’re thrilled that they’re doing it.”
Coyne, a lifelong Oklahoma City resident, plans to make the concert an annual spectacle.
“The Flaming Lips welcomes everybody to get on board with this thing,” he said. “But I would say that the Flaming Lips are gonna do it anyway. As long as there’s a building and people that wanna rock, we’ll do it with just whatever.”
The city’s new NBA team, the Thunder, also will play on New Year’s Eve.
“We are thrilled to be part of the excitement and energy that is downtown Oklahoma City,” said Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney.
Other downtown New Year’s Eve events include the Devon Ice Rink, Chesapeake Snow Tubing at the Brick, a formal gala and live country music.
Along with its family-friendly, alcohol-free slate of activities and performances, Opening Night will light up the sky with a fireworks display at midnight. About 65,000 to 75,000 people are expected to attend the event.
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