[ATTENDED: June 12, 2016] Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords
After having gotten a number of concert tickets fort he summer, I had planned a moratorium. But it was impossible to pass up the opportunity to see Flight of the Conchords. Especially if they were going to be singing Flight of the Conchords! I didn’t even realize they toured (clearly they do), and since there were no plans for a new television season and since Jemaine Clement has lent his voice and face to all manner of awesome evil roles, I assumed the FotC was no more. [Bret McKenzie has also done things but not nearly as much as Jemaine].
Since we loved the show and the music, I jumped on tickets once they were available. Once again, I thought our seats would be better than they were (I really need to understand seating charts better), but it didn’t matter because they had two giant screens on which they projected the two of them and did many great visual effects as well. It was easy to forget to look at them on stage since the screens were so compelling, but it’s always important to see what the guys are doing too.
They played 13 songs in total and did a lot of very funny banter in between. The strange thing is that I didn’t know they had released a second album (how did I miss that?) so a lot of the songs that I thought were “new” were just new to me. Although there were some brand new songs thrown in as well.
It was also awesome that as soon as Arj Barker left the stage, there was no delay before Flight of the Conchords came out.
The guys came out and were in good form from the start. Jemaine talked about the rock and roll lifestyle that they were getting used to. He brought a bottle of water out to the stage but there were already two bottles waiting for him. And as if to prove how rock n roll they were, Jemaine broke a string with the first note he played. It was really funny–who knew they rocked so hard? When the roadie brought a new guitar he said they would throw the old one away–just to clarify he meant the string, not the guitar.
The opening song was meant to get the party started–by explaining how they party and the rules one must follow (about using a coaster and bringing chips). This segued perfectly with a snippet of “Rock the Party.”
For the second song, “Father and Son” they asked the camera to create a split screen in which Bret looked much smaller than Jemaine (Bret was the son). It began with them as the same size with Jemaine making some funny comments about that. When the camera was finally correct, the two did look like they were singing to each other (Bret on the piano). The song started out sounding pretty sincere, but the jokes came pretty fast. Sarah commented how it was really weird how quiet the audience was because we all wanted to hear all the words of the new songs.
After “Father and Son” Jemaine explained that they were now the biggest band in New Zealand… in terms of members. Most New Zealand bands are solo performers. And they were lucky to have The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with them. The Orchestra was wild-haired cellist Nigel Collins.
For the next song, they asked the lighting to look like a French bistro (so the lights went blue white red), and they launched into “Foux de Fafa.” I wondered how they would do they female voices, but Bret handled that duty very well.
And then it was “The Most beautiful Girl in the Room” which was hilarious and was one of the few songs that people sang along to.
Jemaine commented about how punk Bret was because his shirt was quite wrinkled. Bret considered ironing it before the show but said no.
In introducing “Shady Rachel,” Bret said that they wanted to play some jazz and they wanted jazz lighting. It was very funny because the screens went black and white an there were close ups of Bret’s fingers on the piano keys and other “jazz” images. Bret introduced their percussion–some chimes and a Vibraslap, which they noted was “traditionally not very popular on songs” but which they hoped to put in all of their songs from then on. And they may have (once Jemaine fixed it since it was loose on the stand).
“Rachel” was a brand new song (they said they’d only finished it a few weeks ago). It was done ina Tom Waits style (Bret can do women’s voices and Tom Waits voices). There were many jazz references and shout outs to friends with absurd names. When Jemaine came over to Bret’s house he rang the doorbell: ding dong be dum doo doo dee booloolooloo. Bret said he doesn’t even have a doorbell, but Jazzy J is just so into jazz he can’t help it.
Bret stayed tat he piano for “The Seagull.” This song about him being a (metaphorical) seagull was actually quite pretty (and his singing voice was very 1970s AM radio–perfect for the lyrics). The joke of the song was that Jamaine explained the metaphors in the song. Bret wasn’t a literal Seagull (until the end ,when he apparently was).
The middle of the show had a great rap medley of “Muther’uckas” and “Hurt Feelings.” I didn’t know “Hurt Feelings” and it worked perfectly with “Mutha’uckas.” I especially enjoyed hearing Breat rap about the apples and censor himself (except for Granny Smith).
For “The Summer of 1353” Jemaine said they want ed to go old school. Bret busted out an autoharp. And just as the song began Jemaine got some intense feedback, which he declared to be very rock n roll. And then they resumed. The song was a story about wooing a lady–woo woo. The end was great when all three of them played a recorder solo–and Bret and Jemaine even did some Lez Zeppelin type tricks–trying to play each others’ fingering (and Bret even playing the flute behind his head).
And then came “Business Time.” I’m interjecting here to comment how at Wilco people were constantly getting up during the show. This show wasn’t anywhere near as bad, although there were people in the row in front of us who got up about 4 times. But the guy next to me decided to leave during “1353” which meant he missed all of “Business Time” (come on!). The song was great–they changed up a few things to make it fresh (although Sarah and I were both a little bummed that e didn’t do the “Is that it?” joke. Aw yeah baby, that’s it!
They ended the main set with “Bowie,” a somewhat timely tribute to David Bowie in which they perform a medley of his styles to rather amusing lyrics.
Before playing “Bowie” they said it would be their last song but that they would come back in a few minutes. Jemaine said that the authorities told them not to play after this song, so if they came back and played more songs, it showed just how rock n roll they were–they don’t care what the authorities say.
And they did come back (with Jemiane telling off an “authority” offstage). As often happens, people fled the theater after the main set was over and Bret commented about them leaving–trying to get home at a reasonable hour is not very rock n roll.
They played a new song “Fuck on the Ceiling” which was really rocking and very funny. When I was at the box office getting tickets for Poekmon, a mom and her kids came up and asked if they could get another ticket for their daughter who decided to come too (that’s pretty risky to come to a show and bring an extra person–what would they have done with her if she couldn’t get another ticket? But there were tickets available, so lucky them. I was thinking about them as the guys played this most vulgar of songs. (I thought about them through Arj Barker too as he was totally R rated).
Their second encore was a song that was evidently a request (did they really walk around before the show taking requests?). “Carol Brown” was a song I didn’t know but which apparently everyone else did. In the beginning of the show lots of people shouting out a line from it but the band explained that they had in fact prepared for the show and knew what they were doing. The song was great, although they said they had to watch themselves on YouTube to remember how it went and what the words were. (Jemaine forgot some words, to everyone’s amusement). Jemaine played the strange little synth thing–and had to stop at one point to get it right. The “choir’ proved to be just Bret and Nigel. After the song, Bret explained that Nigel was single and this was his first time in America. He said they’d be around after the show for a bout 7 minute before they had to drive to Washington DC but that that would be plenty of time.
The final song was “Think About It,” a song that tackles the issues. Like a man getting stabbed with knives and forks and the about slave making sneakers but them still being quite expensive–what is your overhead?
It was cool how many instruments the guys played–Bret and Jemaine both played guitar and bass, recorders, and both were sitting on a box drum (used to great effect on many songs). And they were so funny while playing everything so well.
It was a great show, and, yes it was over by 10:30 which was nice (even if getting out of the Mann Center is quite a hassle). I hoped they’d play “Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenoceros” and would have loved to hear “The Distant Future” but I have no complaints as the show was really funny, the sound was great, the visuals were outstanding and it was cool to hear them do these songs live. As the last song ended the guys planned to “sneak off” the stage. Of course, their microphone chords were wrapped all around the stands so it took awhile for them to slowly leave the stage. |
Meanwhile, poor Nigel was left on the stage by himself . It was a great ending.
- Chips and Dips
- Father and Son
- Foux du Fafa
- The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room)
- Shady Rachel
- The Seagull
- Mutha’uckas/Hurt Feelings
- 1353 (Woo a Lady)
- Business Time
- Fuck on the Ceiling
- Carol Brown
- Think About It