So I'm back from my vacation and hope I still have readers left after 3 weeks away!
Clearly the big news since I was gone is the Pitchfork line up, the vote-your-own-set-list set up for Friday, and the Flaming Lips headline slot. As various outlets have reported, the Lips were initially supposed to join in on the fan-voted set list fun, but almost immediately backed out, forcing Pitchfork to issue a correction. This earned the major ire of the Sun Times' Jim DeRogatis, who was thrilled about the fan-voted set list in the hopes that it would force the Lips to revisit older material and revitalize a stage show that has become a bit stale.
I guess have to agree with him. I'm probably one of the only people that greeted the Flaming Lips news with an "eh". I saw the Flaming Lips at Coachella in 2004, and while sure, the stage show is funny, in 45 minutes they played a whopping 3 songs, all from Yoshimi (and only after spending 10 minutes delaying the show so Wayne could get his giant bubble inflated). Festival shows don't really give the Lips enough time to do both the schtick and play actual music at the same time. And the schtick hasn't changed a whole lot in the 5 years since; their stage show has really become this pre-packaged, ultimately hollow thing that's not really about the music anymore but about how weird and silly they can be. I agree with Jim that festivals like Pitchfork are the time to do something really interesting and special, and when a stage full of animal costumes and a giant human hamster ball are no longer special, it might be time to revisit the formula.