Miley Cyrus just announced a six-date tour with the Flaming Lips, and she and the Lips appeared last weekend on Saturday Night Live, performing two tracks from their psychedelic collaborative album Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. So when the Lips played a last-minute show Sunday at Southern California’s 550-capacity Observatory club, many Smilers might have assumed it was an unofficial tour warmup gig.
As it turned out, Miley did not appear (frontman Wayne Coyne merely, vaguely explained that she was “at home”), but diehard Lips fans got a treat anyway – when the band played the Dead Petz tracks “Karen Don’t Be Sad” and “Tiger Dreams” with Coyne singing lead on both songs for the first time.
Just as Miley got emotional during her SNL performance last week, Coyne became choked up while warbling “Karen,” a song about bullying and arguably Dead Petz’s most poignant and compelling track. But he was cheeky when introducing the song, saying, “The person who sang it on Saturday Night Live got really f—ed up backstage. Usually that doesn’t stop her!”
“Tiger Dreams,” a song that features indie experimentalist Ariel Pink on the studio recording, lost none of its loopy, lysergic grandeur with Coyne taking on the lead vocals during Sunday’s concert.
Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz is the most melodic work the Flaming Lips have released in years, so in keeping with that vibe, the rest of the band’s Observatory setlist offered material from the group’s poppier catalog, including Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ title track, “Fight Test,” and “Do You Realize?”; “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”; and their ‘90s alt-rock radio hit “She Don’t Use Jelly.”
Miley Cyrus and the Flaming Lips’ joint Dead Petz tour kicks off Nov. 19 at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre. Watch Miley’s version of “Karen Don’t Be Sad” on SNL below.