Live Review: Flight Of The Conchords, Arj Barker

25 July 2012 | 10:31 am | Tom Birts

More Flight Of The Conchords More Flight Of The Conchords

Before a sold-out Challenge Stadium got to fly with the Conchords, the expectant crowd took a tour of the 'Barktic Circle'. Who better to start an evening with Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie than their merchant pal, and Arj Barker showed why he's a near permanent fixture on the Australian comedy circuit. Hometown mentions get heartier laughs, and Barker didn't waste the chance to exploit the potential of CAT buses and Dog Swamp.

With a nod and a wink at Lady Gaga, Clement and McKenzie entered stage left wearing the first of many outfits. A cardboard box each atop their heads, they launched into club banger, Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor), and, briefly, the all-seating arrangement seemed shortsighted. We soon settled in to the rhythm of music and banter.

Fans of Flight Of The Conchords were wondering how the TV format would translate into live performance. In a nutshell it was a song, sometimes two or three, then a credulous description of the mischief they'd been up to on tour - free muffins from the hotel, being late for rehearsal - you get the picture.

Everyone will have a favourite moment from this triumphant show. The piss poor crowd participation in Song For Epileptic Dogs; Barker's cameos; Jemaine dancing in his socks, thrusting his cord-clad Sugalumps at the unfortunates in the front row; the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Nigel); the cheers that bounced off the ceiling for Hurt Feelings.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Arguably the sweetest moment though was a delayed punchline to equal The Aristocrats. McKenzie and Clements's second track of the encore's trio blew their boring tour stories wide open with the sordid details of piscine/human interfacing on the road. Line of the evening? “We left a hole in your soul / we left a sole in your hole”.

Like Shakespeare's Feste from Twelfth Night, Bret and Jemaine's gauche personae aren't quite enough to hide their intelligence. Not just for turning the minutiae of everyday situations into events worthy, and indeed capable, of filling a verse, a song, a gig, a stadium; but in the execution of the tracks themselves. A Conchords live show leaves you in no doubt that the boys can play. Franz Ferdinand pastiche Fuck On The Ceiling and the Bobby Womack-esque What's Wrong With The World Today are disarmingly, frighteningly good songs - with or without the jokes.

It's been well publicised that the Conchords were coming to Australia “mostly to apologise”. Bros. Most people just send flowers. If they had something to apologise for, it was only their tardiness in hopping the ditch. Come back soon Conchords, we forgive you.