Doheny Days: Day Two – Doheny State Beach – September 9, 2012

Day two of Doheny Days commenced full-throttle in Dana Point for another round of musical festivities drawing crowds by the thousands. From smaller acts like Milo Greene to the ever-anticipated explosive joy of the Flaming Lips, the sun-soaked rasta-hippie crowd seemed to congregate collectively at every stage with ear-to-ear smiles. Seriously, if you aren't smiling by the end of a Flaming Lips show, who the fuck are you, anyway?

While Steel Pulse sax player Jerry Johnson's dreds swung well past his bum, they conveniently seemed to sway to the rhythm to each of his amazing solos. He didn't just stick to one sax, but flowed between a tenor and piccolo sax for those higher octaves the audience can't do without. Next to Steel Pulse's classic reggae tracks, Johnson's sax skills delivered the extra 'oomph' for a groovin' day of reggae.

The mini-orchestra that is Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros seemed to cluster together on stage in a perfect semi-circle until lead singer Alex Ebert decided to completely immerse himself in the crowd. A guy shouted from the crowd that they went to high school together which launched Ebert into trading stories about his P.E. teacher with random dude from the crowd. Ebert also invited an audience member named Mario from the crowd on stage to sing “I Don't Want to Pray” with the band. If that's not crowd love, I don't know what is.
Best Stage Props: The Flaming Lips

Hands down, no really, BIG hands down, The Flaming Lips brought out stage props, from the expected giant bubble to large hands, light shows, colorful cannons and giant balloons packed to the brim with confetti and streamers decorated the stage and the massive audience in carni-like fashion. If a trapeze show were to start in the middle of the stage, it might have not surprised me. Lead singer Wayne Coyne even had a video camera attached to his microphone to show an enlarged fish-eye view of his face behind the band, which gave way to very animated expressions, tears included.

Most Anticipated: The Flaming Lips 

My entire summer concert series has boiled down to this one act as this was my first Flaming Lips experience. It will not be my last. People arrived in droves to watch these masters perform stellar psychedelic alternative tunes like “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell” and “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” among many others from new and old albums. They kept the crowd hanging on with a double encore where they finally played the very anticipated “Do You Realize??” to which confetti bursted out of every corner of the stage on every chorus line along with lights, smiles and tears. Between Coyne crowd surfing inside a giant plastic bubble, the talented keyboardist Steven Drodz busting out a 12-string electric guitar and talk box and random groups of people on stage dressed in animal outfits, it was the best way to bring the summer to a beautiful close.
Critical Bias: I've been wanting to see The Flaming Lips since high school.
Crowd: Surfer jargon prevailed as I hear people compare bud growing notes and how they plan to spend a half-baked Thanksgiving on O'ahu. Hippie-dippies and rasta folks unite to share days of positive vibes and sneak-a-tokes. We're at da beach, mon!
Overheard: “Are we no one because we have V.I.P.?”
Random Notebook Dump: Thoroughly enjoyed watching an older guy get on with his bad self during Steel Pulse. The guy even busted out a mean  worm among other awesome old school break dancing moves and still managed to keep that floppy old man's hat attached to his head.

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