Last weekend had all the makings of a disaster.
I’ll take you back to October 2017. Flight of the Conchords had just announced a UK tour – their first since we saw them in 2010. The day the tickets went on sale, Ticketmaster revealed itself to be the truly awful garbage company it is, and we very nearly didn’t get tickets but thank goodness for random internet clicking and an extra date being announced. A gif party ensued in the group chat.
About two weeks before the gig, it was postponed – poor Bret McKenzie had fallen down some stairs and broken his hand. They rescheduled to June, which unfortunately ruled out two people from our group of 5 – boo!
June came around, bones were still in tact, new people were added to our party – all seemed fine. Well, except the fairly major crisis that happened at work which meant I couldn’t get the day off, I had a stressful train ride into London, an even more stressful tube ride over to the O2, and then a tense wait outside the venue for the 5th person to arrive (late). I genuinely wasn’t looking forward to the gig. At all.
Thank god I didn’t give up because the gig was AMAZING (sorry Ryan).
As I sat with Husband, Tim, and two of Husband’s people waiting for Bret and Jermaine to come on stage, I really couldn’t imagine how this gig would work in the objectively too big O2 Arena. How could New Zealand’s fourth most popular duo possibly fill the stage without losing their down to earth, self-deprecating vibe?
Quite brilliantly as it turns out. There were no flashy sets, no costume changes – just two guys with their instruments (sometimes with a third guy – Nigel, the “New Zealand Symphony Orchestra”), and fantastic camera work which picked up on every subtlety that happened between the two of them, like Jermaine’s blank face during the middle of Foux Du Fafa.
Terrible photo as my phone isn’t that great, but we had good seats. Would have been nicer to have been closer, but we were lucky to get tickets at all so I can’t complain too much!
Surprisingly, there were a lot of new songs, including a song about Deana from HR and Ian from Accounting which made me howl with laughter. Some people were disappointed that classics like Business Time were left out, but the new stuff was just as catchy. One of the songs had a truly insane recorder solo and I would have hated to have missed out on that. Even the old classics seemed better, like the mash-up of Mother Uckers and Hurt Feelings where I suddenly realised that Bret’s voice is phenomenal.
Towards the end of the show, Jermaine started to get frustrated with someone who kept yelling for them to play Jenny, a song I don’t really remember (and apparently, the band don’t remember it well either). I don’t know if this was part of the act or if he genuinely was getting irritated, but I laughed so much as Bret chastised him for his anger. The badinage between the two of them was as hilarious as ever, with conversations about how Jermaine is Captain Fun, the time they both got stuck in a lift, and how their cushions kept falling of their seats. There was even a good old Brexit reference (Bret-xit and Jermainers) and a bit of sarcasm on the Millennium Dome which made me lol as that’s what I still call The O2.
I can’t say I’d be keen to go back to The O2 again, but I am so happy to have seen FOTC again. I really need a live album now – I think a HBO special is on its way – and I’ve had the whole set list stuck in my head since the gig. As we battled through the tube crowds to get to our hotel in the City of London, I realised with joy that I had captured my favourite song moment from The Humans Are dead on my phone: