June 21, 2018
When Flight of the Conchords announced their first UK tour in seven years, we just knew that we had to be there. After a slight delay and a quick rescheduling of dates, we were over the moon to be able to attend their gig at the O2 last night. How was it? Here are our thoughts!
As Brett Mackenzie and Jermaine Clement take to the stage, there was a huge applause as one might expect. Never ones to shirk the spotlight, they were quick to acknowledge that yes, they were older and that unfortunately death does come to all. With that out of the way, on with the show! It’s that sort of humour which propelled Flight of the Conchords to public consciousness just over a decade ago with HBO specials and two series of their hit show, a programme that they ultimately walked away from because "it just wasn't fun.” Thankfully at the O2, it was clear both members of the band were having a great time, telling sprawling anecdotes about nothing in particular, taking requests and even acknowledging their lack of gender equality in the band. Unfortunately, they were the only folks to audition.
Despite only being two people on stage in front of 10-20,000 people the duo manage to have a great presence, working off one another between songs to great effect. As one might expect from a band that has recently returned to the stage, they had a few new songs to play and a lot of old favourites as well. Beginning with a heartfelt(ish) tune about a father and son singing together about a lovely day out, they conjure up the spirit of Cat Stevens before going down the route of something else entirely by the song’s end. That’s part of the beauty of their setup; you know the jokes are coming, you just aren’t always sure when.
Beginning with two new songs before playing an old one, The Most Beautiful Girl (in the room), you might think it would take a while for the show to get going. Thanks to the quality of each song in the setlist though, everything is firing on all cylinders from the get go, the inter-song patter having the audience in fits of laughter throughout. In terms of the old favourites, Motha Uckas gets an airing to huge cheers, as do Inner City Pressure, Bowie, Robots and – by special request from the audience – Albi the Racist Dragon.
Much of the set is taken up with newer songs many might not have heard, our personal highlights being a tune about a man named Stana who happens to meet his doppelganger in the wild west, as well as a hilarious song set in the Summer of 1353, which also showcase the duo’s exceptional musical ability with a self-confessed indulgent recorder duet. It’s not often you see a recorder on stage at the O2.
All in all, this was a fabulous night out, only lessened by the cutting of one song due to a curfew. What was it? We’ll never know! Although there was some disappointment from the crowd at the lack of Business Time – “We can’t play it because we haven’t rehearsed it” – any criticism is unfair. Flight of the Conchords have brought their A game to London, as well as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and such ambition is to be admired from this absolutely hilarious comedic duo. It’s great to have them back!
Flight of the Conchords full setlist can be seen here.
Flight of the Conchords perform in London until July. For more information and to buy tickets, please click here.
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By Henry Fosdike