I write this review as I recover from a two and a half hour onslaught of hilarity, brought (finally) to Sydney by the one and only Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie aka the Flight of the Conchords, with a very special and an unexpected appearance from someone who's no stranger to our city, Arj Barker. I say "recover" because the amount of laugher this night induced exhausted just about every muscle in and around my face. But enough about me... let's talk about the show.
Introduced in a typically dry/awkward fashion by Jemaine, Arj Barker surprised the crowd with an opening stand up set that covered topics such as laser eye surgery, half toilet flushes and man whoring it on the road. In his usual fashion, Arj worked the room like a pro, kindly kicking off not only this fine evening at the Opera House, but the entire Australian tour, too. Not a bad way to get things started, and he certainly got our laughter muscles well lubricated for the main attraction.
The New Zealand duo, who up until today had only appeared at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Australia, made their Sydney debut with the popular, bass heavy number "Too Many Dicks (On The Dancefloor)". Lights flashed in rainbows and they wore speakers on their heads as they jammed through the song, getting plenty of laughs along the way. As with many songs of the night, the song served as a catalyst for lengthy banter that was as entertaining as the music itself.
Given it's been a while since their series went off the air, the music felt fresh to the crowd who laughed at every joke in every song they knew, and found great moments in the songs they didn't. The duo - with a supporting instrumentalist in Nigel, primarily on the double bass, and the occasional, brief appearance from Arj - seemed to find the music fresh too, humourously stumbling over lyrics a few times here and there. As this is their first tour in quite a while (their New Zealand tour last week was their first in two years), it's only natural. A new song which may it may not have been called "Let's Fuck on the Ceiling" proved a particular struggle, which they admitted from the outset, but made for one of the best moments of the show (and does this mean a new album approacheth!?).
What it was easy to forget in between their last record and the stage show was that not only are they hilarious, but they are fantastic musicians and singers, too, showing off their range throughout the night... along with their bodies through a series of costume changes that were achieved by the fact they were wearing each outfit under the next. By the end of the show they were in spandex, rocking out for "Demon Woman", before returning for a three song encore and ending the night with the easy favourite for many: "Sugalumps". This saw them bump and grind around the stage, and on their audience, in glorious, hilarious fashion.
Other highlights included an epic rendition of "Bowie", "Hurt Feelings", the audience participation of "Song for Epileptic Dogs" and the adventure in the days of ye olde, "The Summer of 1353". Notable absences included "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros" and "Albi the Racist Dragon" - but with the set looking to change slightly every night, they will no doubt make appearances later in the tour.
I feel reluctant to say too much more because I don't want to spoil the night completely, nor do I want to put anyone's expectations too high (what!? They played that song the night you went!? They didn't play it the night I went!!). But I think it's pretty obvious for anyone who knows the duo that in purchasing a ticket, they're in for a treat.
Flight of the Conchords came, conquered and did not disappoint. They return to Sydney tonight "all the way up the road" at the Entertainment Centre, before hitting the rest of the country and even some regional dates. If you're a fan of comedy, this is a tour you don't want to miss.