Wayne Coyne knows a thing or two about building suspense. Suited in Butlins’ red, the silver-maned Flaming Lips band leader raises the anticipation to dizzying heights when conducting the opening strains of wonky sci-fi overture ‘Race for the Prize’. His hands move with Proms-like grandiosity at the start of each teasing synth segment, before pumping the air like an elated sports star as the band erupts with a wall of colourful noise, inviting rapturous applause with his flailing hands and half-manic gaze. The packed dome waits for the drop, strapped in and ready for lift off.

Then, with that magical swipe of harp-like piano, the Oklahomans’ 1999 psych epic takes flight and it’s like a shot of serotonin: giant latex balloons invade the room like vivid floating boulders, cannons fire streams of eye-catching confetti and the front row is doused in clouds of gold glitter flung from the hand of Coyne himself. There’s chaos, confusion, a joyous melee of ecstatic people in an adult playpen celebrating like it’s the strike of twelve on New Year’s Eve.

Whereas this was once the grand finale of a Flaming Lips show, it is now just an emphatic introduction: Coyne voyages through the crowd on a neon mythical creature for futuristic new tune ‘There Should Be Unicorns’, he dances around like an overjoyed marathon runner in a shiny foil blanket during ‘The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song’ and is backed by two dancing eyeballs who jig to the Velcro-like riff at the heart of ‘The W.A.N.D.’. He also takes a jaunt across a sea of outstretched arms in his giant hamster ball during a cover of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, before delivering a moving monologue about the seminal music of the late, great musical icon.

Songs old, new and downright odd make up the rest of the Lips’ mind-expanding set, which concludes with ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ and ‘Do You Realize??’ in front of a stage-spanning inflatable rainbow. The combination leaves the dome’s crowd gazing on in slack-jawed awe, a sure sign that The Flaming Lips are at the peak of their powers with a live experience that delights and dumbfounds.

Photo of The Flaming Lips featured on Hidden Herd new music blog

Photo of The Flaming Lips featured on Hidden Herd new music blog

Photo of The Flaming Lips featured on Hidden Herd new music blog