Finally, it was time to see the Conchords in their debut Australian headline tour. Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement appeared on stage seated on stools wearing daggy t-shirts and matching reversible homemade robot helmets. They remained seated for the majority of the show.
Their performance style, much like the topics they sing about was unconventional. Between tracks they conversed with each other and the sold out Rod Laver crowd, bestowing upon us tour stories about complimentary hotel muffins, getting stuck in a lift, and something about a fish, which Clement strictly ordered McKenzie not to talk about. At one point Clement forgot the lyrics to a song, made fun of it, then McKenzie backtracked and soldiered on.
A few tracks in the band introduced to the stage a special guest performer. It was neither the groups’ on-air band manager Murray Hewitt (Rhys Darby) or their no. 1 stalker fan Mel (Kristen Schaal). He was ‘The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’ cellist Nigel Collins.
Throughout the night some guys from the audience yelled out “Nigel” because the Conchords instructed him not to speak as to keep his mystique. The duo responded to the bantering with quick-witted remarks.
Surprisingly, hardly any of the seated fans sang along to the tunes they were familiar with from the FOTC television series. I constantly found myself mouthing the lyrics to many of the songs. The Conchords invited the audience to join in on ‘Song for Epileptic Dogs’ with a call-and-response during the chorus.
Towards the end of the night, in the quickest onstage costume change ever during ‘Bowie’, the lights went off for a couple of seconds, revealing the performers wearing black skin-tight Lycra costumes featuring a lion’s head. Not so daggy after all. Following on was ‘Demon Woman’.
Returning to the stage for the encore, McKenzie apologised to the female audience members for portraying woman in a negative manner in their previous song.
The most entertaining part of the night was the show closing ‘Sugalumps’. Clement made his way to the front row of the audience seated on the floor dancing in front of them then subsequently laying down on a lower part of the stage in a sexy pose.
The only downfall of the night was that I was sitting so far away from the stage, I found myself repeatedly watching the performance via the big screens next to the stage rather than keeping my eyes on the stage. Nonetheless, I had an enjoyable night laughing a fair bit at the silliness of the whole night.
If you missed the show, it will definitely be worth watching the professional recording of the night in whatever form of media it will be released in.