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“We didn’t know if we’d ever get another chance to play in a cemetery so we thought we would make the most of this simple statement that I feel like the more we realize – that even this moment that we’re having here – is kind of a special, temporary thing, the more we’re able really to seize this thing and say let’s make it good, let’s make it meaningful and share it with our friends…”
-Wayne Coyne’s “Do You Realize, Morning Rendition” banter, June 15, 2011 at sunrise
When Wayne Coyne tweeted a video of himself at The Alcove of Devotion inside Hollywood Forever Cemetery in February noting he was “Gonna try and do a Flaming Lips show there“, the idea of The Flaming Lips actually playing in this graveyard almost seemed too weird to be true – even by Flaming Lips standards. But alas, by early April he had a psychedelic poster circling the web announcing not just “a Flaming Lips show there” but three of them… over “two nights, one morning”…
The two nights were self-explanatory: first their own classic, The Soft Bulletin, then Pink Floyd’s classic, Dark Side of the Moon. But what was “the morning”?
Wayne explained the details to Jaan Uhelszki back in May: “They gave us access to all the old mausoleums and rooms and everything there, so we’re doing a kind of freak-out in one of the buildings. Then we’re doing “Do You Realize, Morning Rendition” with Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Bimbos from the big bell tower there. They’re going to do this one song with us. But I don’t want to give people the impression that you get to spend the night there. This is not a camp-over sort of situation. We’re going to play the Soft Bulletin, you’re going to go home, you’re going to go out for coffee, come over, and watch this “Do You Realize” as the sun comes up, go back home, and sleep because then you’re going to come out the next night and watch us do Dark Side of the Moon until 3:00 a.m.”
Although fan videos of the belltower set quickly surfaced on the web – including the full unedited happenings (42 minutes worth, here!) – it wasn’t until July 21st the Lips visual media spin-off company, Delo Creative, finished editing and posted an official video of the event (on vimeo, followed by a YouTube upload two days later – embedded at top of this page).
This “two nights, one morning” engagement is called “Everyone You Know Some Day Will Die” – an apt name for obvious reasons (the venue and surroundings) but also also for a slightly less overt reason: both Bulletin and Dark Side are deal with death. So it’s even more appropriate that for the free “morning” segment (yep, “free” – anybody could walk in – no ticket required) they would play the piece the concert’s name is pulled from – “Do You Realize???”, a song often played at funerals. Most of all, it’s how they played it:
…at sunrise …
… from the cemetery’s bell tower…
…with Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros…
Flaming Lips bassist/ multi-instrumentalist/ engineer Michael Ivins played the Eliza Otis chimes from the bell tower while the rest of the bands played on the ground in front of a modest-sized audience of early-to-rise fans. Prior “Do You Realize” there was a mini-jam between Flaming Lip Steven Drozd and Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros.
The two bands evidently befriended each other backstage at Lollapalooza’s 20th Anniversary celebration (at the beginning of April in Chile – “Nos topamos con Wayne Coyne en el backstage de Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros“). Both artists also appeared at Santa Rosa, California’s Harmony Festival this past weekend: The Flaming Lips headlined on Steven Drozd’s birthday, Saturday, June 11th – with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and others – where they previewed some of the Dark Side re-arrangements and Edward Sharpe appeared alongside Primus and others on Sunday, June 12th.
“The Stars of Hollywood Forever” website explains that the bell tower, a “Spanish-influenced structure from the early thirties, a nearby three-story tower, today houses the Eliza Otis chimes… The chimes, commissioned in her memory, are a twenty-thousand-pound set of twelve cast-bronze bells, each inscribed with one of her verses. They hung in the bell tower of the cemetery’s chapel from 1905 to 1925, when the chapel’s beams bowed.”