Local Current Blog

The Flaming Lips pay tribute to Paul Westerberg, First Avenue at River’s Edge

Credit: Photo by Ben Clark

Leave it to the Flaming Lips to provide one of the only legitimately spontaneous moment’s of last weekend’s River’s Edge Music Festival. The majority of their set was an almost note-for-note recreation of last summer’s performance at SoundTown (and, I’d imagine, most of their other festival shows), but halfway through the haziest portion of their 90-minute show, frontman Wayne Coyne pulled out a surprise for Twin Cities rock fans.

Turning to sidekick Steven Drozd, Coyne wondered aloud if he knew how to play “Black Diamond,” to which Drozd shrugged and said, “At least the first few bars.” Coyne nodded his head, and then turned to the crowd. “If anyone sees Paul Westerberg, will you tell him we played ‘Black Diamond’?”

The song was an interesting choice, given that the version that appears on the Replacements’ seminal Let It Be was itself a cover of another band’s song. “Black Diamond” was written by Paul Stanley and originally performed by KISS, but the ‘Mats arguably recorded the better version and it’s understandable why their take left a mark on Coyne.

After riffing on the first few bars, Coyne paused to say some awfully nice words about downtown Minneapolis landmark First Avenue and our little corner of the music world. Hear the “cover” and his speech about the Twin Cities in the video clip below.

For more on River’s Edge, check out our full slideshow and recap here.

And for some more fun with the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, here’s a GIF of him popping a confetti ballon onto himself during Sunday’s show by Ben Clark: