Flight of the Conchords
Monday, July 18th, 2016 – Koka Booth Amphitheater – Cary
It was another sweltering day in the greater Raleigh area as the staff of RDU Music again made the short trek out to Koka Booth for a night of musical comedy courtesy of Flight of the Conchords.
We tried something new on this visit to Koka Booth: We ponied up for our own table, which turned out to be a great idea. I was at first skeptical of these tables as they are premium seats but are placed in the very back of the venue. Quite a few of them are listed as “possible limited visibility” due to the placement of the sound booth. Our visibility was indeed limited but for a show like FotC that utilized two giant videoscreens, sitting at the back turned out to be fantastic. The table service really sealed the deal considering the sheer length of the concession lines. We got to simply sit in patio chairs and have drinks brought to us all night. [Editor’s Note: Rough life.]
Leading off the night with a stand-up set was Arj Barker who played Dave on the FotC HBO show. My heart went out to him as his set fell flat from the start. In a comedy club of 150 people, one can take more artistic liberty with their material but in front of 7000 people in an arena setting, his act did not translate well. He probably felt like he had to play it safe which made the act forgettable.
2/5 stars = Meh
Flight of the Conchords
Leading up to the show, I read a few interview pieces with Flight of the Conchords. They don’t really have anything new to promote. They just thought it was time to do some shows. It just so happened that the world was more than ready for their return, as evidenced by the great turnouts at outdoor amphitheater shows across the country, with Koka Booth in Cary being no exception. A capacity crowd was in attendance as night fell and Bret and Jemaine took the stage.
The first time I heard/saw FotC was their HBO One Night Stand back in 2005. I was flipping through the guide on the cable box and thought I’d check it out. They had me in stitches from the first song. I had never experienced anything like that. The effortless deadpan, the top-notch banter, their own unique brand of Kiwi silliness. It was a revelation. Now, 10+ years later, I was fortunate enough to experience the spectacle firsthand with about 7000 other musical comedy devotees.
The first item of business on the FotC docket was to discuss their policy on fans taking cell phone videos. Since they were trying out some new songs, they did not want some Parkinson’s afflicted Luddite unveiling their new material to the world via a grainy, zoomed-in iPhone 4 video shot in portrait mode. And understandably so. They politely informed the crowd that if one were to break this rule, they would use your phone to take pictures of their junk and text them to your mother. Bravo. The kids these days could stand to put down their Pokeymanz and simply enjoy each moment as it unfolds in real-time, but I’m over 30 and can remember a time before the internet so my opinion is meaningless.
If you have ever heard any of FotC’s records, you know that they are surprisingly talented musicians but I’m here to tell you that their stage banter is a scene-stealer. They had to explain that despite what the town of Cary may have heard, their talking on-stage was not in fact rapping. [Editor’s Note: Take that, white people.] Bret and Jemaine were also able to shed some light on the inner workings of their genius. For example, since certain portions of their songs are prone to change each night of the tour, after playing their early-period hit, “Robots,” they explained, “In that version of the song, C3P0 killed the Terminator.” [Editor’s Note: Take that, Miles Dyson.]
B & J made sure to speak on the two topics that are sure to be addressed at every show this summer in North Carolina: The heat and the fact that the state of NC is really concerned with which bathroom one uses. Spoiler alert: It’s hot as balls and bigoted bathroom rules are stupid. Once we got that out of the way, FotC continued to dazzle the crowd up until the very end when the set devolved into dual recorder solos. For a moment I thought, “Am I just watching a couple of Kiwis make mouth noises?” Then I remembered that was exactly what I was watching. And I loved every second of it.
4/5 stars = Great