Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Flight of the Conchords @ Wembley Arena 25th May 2010


A far cry from the miniscule venues of New Zealand, New York and even New Zealand Town, a Kiwi duo wait to humour 12,000 fans at Wembley arena. The last in a string of sold out shows across Europe; tickets were hot property for this elusive gig.  But how will this understated double team translate to venue of such stature and enormity? Can they still be funny? Or are they destined to be watched by one possessed fan for the rest of their career?

The translation wasn’t completely lost, however with massive screens and the odd decision to seat the entire venue didn’t make life easy for the pair. It wasn’t such a distance from the X Factor-esque productions, which take place under the same roof.  Blame cannot be blasted just on the duo, just sort your production company out.

The opener ”Two Many Dicks” mimics Daft Punk’s act in their very own lo-fi FOTC style equipped with cardboard boxes instead of flashy cyber helmets. Much of the humour is provided through the pairs awkward chemistry, and unscripted cock-ups – reminiscent of their TV performances.  From anecdotes about the band’s rock and roll muffin eating to Jermaine forgetting how to play “Prince of Parties”, laughs were abundant. Possibly from a virgin FOTC viewers perspective this must have seemed like the most chaotic and surreal show ever.

The band’s attempts at audience participation fell flat (due to the ridiculous decision to seat everyone!) – with Bret getting ticked off by an impromptu sing-along to “Albi the Racist Dragon”. All was rescued with great versions of “Bowie”, “Robots” and “Business Time”, the later was extended among new less familiar tracks like “Jenny” which all worked great.

The downfall came, as mentioned, through restricted the audience to their seats. Like with any gig, musicians feed off reactions from the crowd, but Wembley Arena sees no dancing, or other immediate reaction above laughter. Regrettably the connection you have when you watch FOTC was effectively negated by this segregation. It wasn’t actually until the final song, where both Bret and Jermaine get offstage and into the audience for a storming version of “Sugar Lumps” which rekindled this eluded crowd connection.


Maybe it’s my fault for failing to track them down live sooner. But maybe it would be nice one day to see them in a small dive in New Zealand Town, even if I have to sit next to Meg foaming uncontrollably at the mouth.

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