The venue is huge, the tickets are expensive and at the merch point, you’ll be charged ten pounds for a poster. Yep, through no fault of their own, the Conchords have turned into the Metallica of comedy acts. So at least it’s nice to see that there’s no huge pyrotechnics, flame jets or massive production on offer: Bret and Jemaine each walk out with a cardboard box on their head adorned with large flashing lights and launch into Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor. Actually, that’s quite flashy for them…
It was difficult to know quite what to expect from a Conchords live show. Part of their appeal lies in the endless quotability of their musical material, but at the same time, why bother going to see them perform songs you know off by heart when you can just watch them on DVD? The simple answer is that you’re in the presence of the most charming comedians in recent memory. Bret and Jemaine’s dry, deadpan delivery between songs is reason enough to spend an evening in their company, an equally important component to the music on offer. Perhaps the best aspect is how they deal with the incessant stream of female screams of love, heckling, sheep noises (Jemaine: ‘You might laugh, but you could be saying something very stupid in sheep language’) and shouts for certain songs. Just as Bret had sat down in front of a tiny drum kit and raised his sticks to begin a song, a fan shouts out ‘ALBI!’, to which Bret responded by heading over to a small piano to begin tinkling out that most famous of children television shows intros. It’s a show that lends itself to that amount of flexibility, as all they have onstage are a few microphones and a large selection of instruments, allowing them to play whatever whenever.
As the evening winds down, the lights go out towards the end of a rousing rendition of Bowie. When they come back up, the boys are wearing the most ridiculous sparkly shellsuits you’ll ever see before beginning an amazingly lo-fi rock version of Demon Woman, with Bret weilding a tiny Flying V guitar and Jemaine sporting a huge white flowing scarf frozen in a comically mid-air position. The Conchords are more than happy to look a little silly for a laugh, and their charm still lies in the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously, onscreen or onstage. The only real downside of the evening is that you know all the words to all the songs, so it’s down to Bret and Jemaine’s credit that what could have ended up being simple, tedious performances of tunes already tattooed into your subconsciousness turned into a hilarious, charming and entertaining evening. In short, the Conchords are just as awesome in front of 10,000 people as they are on your TV screen, which just makes it even more of a massive shame that we won’t be seeing a third season of the television show featuring two of the best comedians alive today.