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The Best Shows, Coast to Coast, to Kick Off 2011

The definitive guide to NYE music, from Patti Smith in NYC to Furthur in San Francisco

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The Flaming Lips are coming prepared for their fourth New Year's show at Oklahoma City's Cox Convention Center: frontman Wayne Coyne tells Rolling Stone there will be “the world’s biggest balloon drop, the world’s largest mirror ball and big, dangerous laser beams. It’s the greatest audience you could ever be a part of, to be with a bunch of fuckin’ freaks that want to do crazy shit and take drugs – that’s what you really want on New Years Eve.” (You'll be able to watch the show live and the day of January 1 right here at RollingStone.com.)

But that’s not all: When the clock strikes midnight, the psych rockers will launch into their 1999 classic The Soft Bulletin for the first time in its entirety. “It seemed as though we should start with this one and see if anybody gives a shit," says Coyne. To meet the task, the band is bringing in new instruments like harp and timpani, “all kinds of stuff that sounded pretentious back in the day but now its like ‘Fuck yeah! It’s big and bombastic!”

8:30 p.m., Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With Stardeath and White Dwarfs. $10 to $25, Ticketmaster

By Patrick Doyle

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Diplo with Major Lazer: Los Angeles

Last New Year's Eve, the Together as One festival drew 50,000 dance music enthusiasts to Los Angeles Sports Arena, who rang in 2010 with crazy confetti, pyrotechnics and sets from the biggest DJs on the planet. This year looks to be bigger, with Diplo, Major Lazer and a "multi-Media Countdown, climaxing into a spectacular Fireworks display."

Los Angeles Sports Arena. 6 p.m. $60-80, Ticketmaster

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Gov’t Mule: New York

For the ninth year in a row, Warren Haynes and Co. will celebrate New Year's in the Big Apple. In past years, the jam band has played out-there reggae, soul and grunge-themed sets (last year, they even covered songs from the first Woodstock). This year the rules will be looser. “We decided to let the fans vote on what their ultimate setlist would be,” says Haynes. The band will play their fans' 10 favorite Gov’t Mule songs, five covers and five never-played covers — all voted for on their website. “I’m curious to see what it tallies up to be. I’m assuming they’ll be things that are more in our realm, but who knows?”

The holiday is the last Mule show in the U.S. for awhile. “We’re gonna take a well-deserved hiatus for most of next year,” says Haynes, who plans to tour off his soul-based solo album. “We haven’t taken a year off in 17 years. It’ll kind of be a therapeutic thing. We’ll come back stronger than ever.”

Beacon Theatre, New York. Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Dec. 31, 9 p.m. $70-100, Ticketmaster

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