Flight of the Conchords played 2 shows at the Greek Theatre in LA (night 2 review, setlist)
The self-proclaimed "biggest band in New Zealand" (in terms of physical size, not popularity) Flight of the Conchords capped off their big Summer tour (including NYC area shows) with two shows at LA's Greek Theater on July 26 and 27 with opener Arj Barker. I got a chance to catch them on the second night, and it was a real treat.
Flight of the Conchords put on as much of a live comedy experience as a simple live show, and their undeniable chemistry and deadpan banter is as much of an attraction as the songs. Brett and Jemaine, as we all know by now, play off of each other unbelievably well, and even though most of their between-song bits are obviously rehearsed, the lived-in dynamic and well-honed timing between the two of them is what sells it, in all its deadpan glory. They played for 2+ hours and had the crowd absolutely in the palm of their hand that whole time. With a simple stage setup (the two massive monitors were actually really crucial to this show), they were able to make a venue as huge at the Greek feel surprisingly intimate. They even brought out Rhys Darby, as band manager Murray. for an impromptu band meeting and a closing rendition of "Leggy Blonde" (Kristen Schaal's Mel showed up on the 26th, so unfortunately I didn't get to catch that).
And while it was great to hear the classics ("Business Time," "Most Beautiful Girl in the Room," "Bowie in Space" and "Hurt Feelings" being particular highlights), the most exciting part was hearing all the new (and newish) material that they've been developing over the past few years. "Father and Son" has been around for awhile, but it's one of the funniest things they've ever done. "Fuck On the Ceiling" is a "Business Time"-level sex jam that's as catchy as it is funny. And a lot of the new stuff goes is hilariously weird and high-concept directions. "Seagull" finds Brett singing about being a seagull as Jemaine interrupts to give running meta-commentary on what each metaphor in Brett's verse means, and "The Ballad of Stana" is an indescribably weird, vulgar, 10+ minute western story about erections, clones, Santa, and all manner of other stuff, complete with in-song recaps explaining the confusing verses and ending up with Brett and Jemaine talking to an audience member about what it would be like to meet and eventually have sex with his doppelganger.
One can hope that they're gearing up to release this stuff in some capacity, but in any case, last night was a great, unique live event. This is carefully constructed, carefully executed live comedy of a rare breed--simultaneously large-scale and human-level. If there was something incongruous about seeing these guys do their deliberately low-key thing in such a dramatic venue, it was quickly defused by the fact that they acted like nothing was different. It was as close to a great hang as a big venue can get -- it felt to me, a big fan of the HBO series, like being in the company of good friends who you haven't seen in a while, laughing, telling jokes and immediately reverting back to the way things were.
Check out some Instagrams from both nights at the Greek and the setlist from July 27 below.
Flight of the Conchords -- 6/27/16 Greek Theatre Setlist
Chips and Dips / Rock the Party (Snippet)
Father and Son
The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room)
The Ballad of Stana
Band Meeting (Skit with Rhys Darby)
Foux du Fafa
Hurt Feelings / Mutha'uckas / When Doves Cry
The Summer of 1353 (Woo a Lady)
Fuck on the Ceiling
Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros (with Arj Barker)
Leggy Blonde (with Rhys Darby)