Review: Flight of the Conchords

'Business Time' finally arrived for fans of Flight of the Conchords as they kicked off their much-anticipated national tour last night.

Nearly 1000 fans - each looking like they'd just unwrapped Willy Wonka's final golden ticket - packed into Hawke's Bay Opera House in Hastings for the first show of a ten-centre tour.

From the moment they stepped on to the stage with their first number Too Many Dicks, Wellington duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement had the audience eating out of the palms of their hands.

The back catalogue is there (Hurt Feelings, Business Time, The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room, Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenocerous), but a few new songs are given a test drive too.  Minor crashes along the way only add to the fun.

With a slew of awards behind them, FOTC have garnered a cult following not just here, but internationally too - largely thanks to their popular HBO sitcom series. 

Seeing them live proves their comedic and musical genius doesn't come from successful television editing.

While there's a bit of scripting, they don't miss a beat with their ad-lib banter.  Their unique and refreshing low-key, deadpan humour is pitch-perfect. They bounce off each other like Lennon and McCartney and their musical ability isn't a far cry from them either.

They're not trying to be something they're not - they don't need to, the talent's there in droves.

"We should introduce the band," they say early on. "We've got Jemaine on guitar and Bret on guitar". They are later joined by a lone cellist who they dub the "New Zealand Sympathy Orchestra".

Making their way through an impressive array of instruments, Jemaine and Bret, who have more than 1.5 million followers on Facebook, even manage to give the triangle and recorder a bit of old-school cool. Before long their spell on the audience had them belting out Song for Epileptic Dogs in four-part harmony.

While their solo careers are catapulting them into a space most artists can only dream of - Bret's got an Oscar sitting on his piano at home and Jemaine has appeared on the big screen alongside some of Hollywood's biggest stars - it's fantastic they've teamed up again for this series of concerts. Maybe they got sick of everyone asking, who knows?

Knowing they'd have sellout shows, concert promoters went to lengths to drip-feed ticket sales for this ten-centre tour to prevent ticket scalping.  They still went quicker than Road Runner and extra 'arena' shows have been added in Wellington and Auckland to satisfy their legions of fans who missed out on tickets for the smaller venues.

Arj Barker, a sometime cohort from the FOTC telly series, kicks off the show as special guest. He's a comic genius in his own right and the audience responded as such.

Those lucky enough to have secured themselves a ticket for one of the upcoming shows are in for a treat. This show is utterly brilliant. With every audience member on their feet at the end, it proved there ain't no party like a Conchords party.

Fairfax Media