The Flight of the Conchords were great on Saturday evening. Their opener, Kristen Schaal, was just as great. Their audience, however, was rowdy, restless, and rude. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a fellow spectator scream out “BUSINESS TIME” during the course of the evening, I would have been able to afford better seats to the show.
If you already know how to conduct yourself at a concert, please disregard the following. If, however, you were impressed by those kids who screamed “WATCHTOWER” at DMB on the Red Rocks live album, read on.
Bands normally have these things called “set lists.” Just like it sounds, they are lists of songs that compose a band’s show or their “set.” The band doesn’t normally stray from the list too much because doing so would disrupt the jobs of an entire group of people who never appear on-stage, such as lighting engineers and sound mixers. Depending on the depth of the act’s catalog, one may assume that the first hour or so of a show has already been planned before he or she has arrived at the venue that evening. That said, bands seeking requests from the audience usually request them. Rarely does a band relent to a random shouts for their most popular songs—Johnny Cash’s “San Quentin Blues” notwithstanding—frankly, I think he played it the second time out of fear. At least the second time was during the encore.
Encores may be the one point during a show where it is acceptable to yell unsolicited requests to the band, but even most encores are pre-planned, especially when it comes to playing a band’s most popular song, which brings me to the real point here. Bands know what songs you came to hear. They know what songs are most popular. They will play them. You don’t need to shout it at them during any spare moment of downtime. This only cheapens and turns the moment in which they do play that popular song somewhat anti-climactic.
I’ll disembark my soapbox. Flight of the Conchords played “Business Time” as the final song of their first encore. It was great, but I could tell that the band was annoyed at not being able to play the song on their own terms; Jemaine even jokingly told Bret to stop playing after Bret strummed the first chord.
Poor audience behavior aside, they played a great set:
Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor
Alby the Racist Dragon
The Most Beautiful Girl
If That’s What You’re Into
Think About It
Tape of Love
They opened the set with “Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor” with drum machines and the hats from their “Robots” video in a pastiche of Daft Punk. Sadly, that was the only song to feature the drum machine; the rest of the set was acoustic. Between each song, the boys bantered with the crowd, quipping that they were among the “Merpeople of the lost city of Atlanta.”
At one point, they called out Nigel, the “New Zealand Orchestra,” a cellist and percussionist. His accompaniment added another element of depth to the compositions, turning the humorous songs into truly beautiful ones. Some of the highlights for me included “Motha’uckas, Demon Woman,” and their closing song, “Tape of Love,” which concluded with the band members departing the stage in opposite directions and the audience singing the chorus a cappella.
With the HBO series as my initial (and to this point, only) exposure to band, I was delighted to see the band in their preferred milieu: on-stage with acoustic guitars and their natural comedic chemistry. A