"The Dark Side of the Moon” will rise after midnight when the Flaming Lips conclude their New Year’s Eve Freak-Out by joining forces with Stardeath and White Dwarfs for an epic rendition of Pink Floyd’s 1973 album classic — in its entirety.
The disturbingly beautiful strains of "The Great Gig in the Sky” and the strutting bass-line of "Money” will ring in a new year and a new decade at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, the place where Lips leader Wayne Coyne
spent many happy hours as a teen taking in the live performances of other musical influences such as Led Zeppelin
and The Who
"Of all the groups that have influenced us, one of those groups would be Pink Floyd,” Coyne said last week during a visit to The Oklahoman
and the video studios of NewsOK.com.
"So, it isn’t as if this music is some foreign entity,” he said. "We’ve considered this music since we were teenagers.”
Indeed, one of Coyne’s fondest memories from adolescence is the time he saw the Pink Floyd concert film "Live at Pompeii” screening at the old Plaza Theatre on NW 16, just a couple of blocks north of the midtown neighborhood where he grew up and still lives.
"To see it at midnight in this theater in Oklahoma City,” he said with a tone of boyish wonder. "Me and my younger brothers sat in there smoking pot in a theater in Oklahoma City. Of course, we all were obsessed with music and rock ’n’ roll and groups and all that sort of stuff. But to sit in there and have this powerful sort of experience. ... Of all the things that can change you, I think that’s one of the great experiences.”
Pink Floyd covers have cropped up in Flaming Lips performances before, most notably at Bonnaroo in 2003, which isn’t surprising since Floyd’s music mixes in so smoothly with the Lips’ grand brand of sweeping, melodic psychedelia.
"I mean I think, you know, we are a Pink Floyd-ish group ourselves,” the Lips front man said.
But the idea of covering the whole of "The Dark Side of the Moon” didn’t occur to Coyne until iTunes representatives asked whether the band had any tracks left over from the recording of its most recent album, "Embryonic,” songs that could be sold exclusively on the site.
"So I said we don’t have a lot of extra tracks. I mean, ‘Embryonic’ was done fairly quickly, and it’s a lot of music. It isn’t as though we had 50 songs to pick from, and these are the 20 we picked. We really just worked until we were satisfied, and that was it.”
Coyne half-jokingly responded with the suggestion that the Lips record "Dark Side,” but the iTunes people and even Lips manager Scott Booker
thought it was a seriously good idea.