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RIOT FEST CHICAGO 2016: Day 1 — The Flaming Lips bring Bowie.

by • September 17, 2016

As a fan who had no room left to applaud, I couldn’t help but wonder what it’s like being in a band who knows they take you to places you really need to go, yet are self-aware enough to see both sides. You might not have an ounce of anything left at the end of your journey, and that’s ok, it was only one song. There’s a lot more journeys ahead.

The Flaming Lips are the most visually appealing band on the planet. It was how I imagine seeing Led Zeppelin in the ’70s must have been like, only now with the technology to transcend the daily limitations of our minds. Their use of lights and colors to evoke emotions — happiness, sadness, arousal, peace — is simply unmatched.

“I gotta say this, we, as The Flaming Lips, get to play to the fucking coolest, fuckin’ most loving audiences. And, it is only true for The Flaming Lips, and here’s why. Whenever we play to a big audience like this, people can be distracted, or fucked up, or tired, or whatever. We always know TFL audience will always have that love and enthusiasm. The reason why that is such a big deal, is because within the audience tonight, there are some people who are going through some real sadness in their live. And they’ve come to the Riot Festival to maybe get away from this sadness for a few hours with some fucking freaks, like you. And, they’re standing in the audience with you tonight, and your smiles and your energy and just cool positive stuff has changed their life.

… Life is this grand, unpredictable, wonderful thing.”

Bowie was in attendance last night. I felt it, I melted. We are so fucking lucky to have even lived during the same time period as him. The privilege of being able to say I was alive while David Bowie was alive, and walked the same earth at the same time as he, is growing more and more surreal and humbling every day.

The moon was smiling loud and the trees were swaying in concert, on beat, joyful to be on our same vibration of happiness. There’s just nothing more beautiful than a full moon grinning back at me while the trees and I laughed at life together. It was a very special place I won’t forget. 

Rock and roll is just a romanticized version of how simple and great life can be.”

(I wrote this in my journal at 1am at an after party.)

What a day. What a night. A day without rain, full of warm friends, cold beers, and glowing, rapidly beating hearts. We arrived to catch the end of GWAR, then the beginning of Meat Puppets. I made it to Glassjaw, Jimmy Eat World, Refused, Ween, and Set Your Goals. I cannot believe I’m going to see Brand New then Death Cab, back to back today.

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Suggestion for today: Ride the Ferris Wheel at night. It’s one of the coolest things.

A few Riot Fest Day 1 thoughts by Mitch, who might have had LSD last night.

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