Hello my loveliest of folkers!
Sorry about the radio silence. I swear we haven't been trying to keep you all on tenterhooks. It's just been a combination of too many things - staying up till five in the morning a couple of nights in a row, getting Amanda packed up and tucked safely on her plane back to Europe, and, probably most importantly, just not being able to compress the experience into words. Does that happen to anyone else? I mean, I deal in words, I haemorrhage letters, I eat adjectives for breakfast. I love
finding a way to translate life into language, but there are some moments that completely defy compression or explanation, and this is one of them for me. So please, please bear with me if I stop at some point and just grin vacantly like an inbred yokel who's been sniffing paint fumes.
All of the wonderful accounts of the show posted by everyone have been so great, that I don't need to echo their fantastic details and stories. The boys were definitely more comfortable and relaxed on stage the second night - I mean, they were brilliant on the first night, but they were absolutely on fire
on Wednesday. I think being able to wind down and getting a good night's sleep, as well as having a better feeling for the venue and the friendly Toronto vibe really gave them a boost. The bit where they stopped the show when a lad went out for a quick wee was genuinely hysterical. I think I saw god for a moment, I was laughing so hard. They just chilled out on stage, chatted away, and conspiratorially plotted with us that when the chap came back and started to sit down, we'd either pretend to be brainwashed zombies or shout en masse "No, no! Don't sit there!"
We eventually decided on the latter, and the poor guy must have thought he'd stumbled into a nightmare for a moment. Wonderful.
The other bit that really sticks out for me was Freebird. About halfway through the show came the inevitable shout, and instead of ignoring it, or making fun of the heckler, or strumming a few bars of it, they just laughed and launched into a full, gorgeous, five-minute version of it, complete with soaring cello and lush harmonies and all. It was truly fantastic. Amanda and Bibli and I were talking about it afterwards, and decided that it was the perfect response: It served as a kind of refreshing musical palate cleanser in the middle of the show, it absolutely and completely
shut down any need for anyone to shout out "Freebird!" again, and more than anything else, it was genuinely hilarious to see them all really grab hold and go for it
. It was full on, man: overwhelmingly beautiful and funny, and I'm not sure whether the tiny salty tear that squeaked out of my eye was due to the surreal hilarity or unbearable loveliness of the moment. But it was beyond great, and I wouldn't trade the memory of it for anything.
After the show, we buttoned up our coats and headed out into the freezing cold night to check out the look of the crowd by the stage door. It was icy! But the crowd seemed relaxed, although quite big, and Amanda, Bibli and I stomped our feet and rubbed our gloved hands together to stay warm while we waited. We were anticipating the long, two-hour waits that we'd been hearing about from other meet-and-greets, so it was a bit of a surprise when Bret bounced out of the stage door like a dishevelled bunny rabbit fifteen minutes later. He immediately launched into autographs and photos, and was extremely patient and easy-going with everyone. Jemaine popped out about ten minutes later (I think it was about ten minutes - time sort of telescopes, you know?), and worked the other side of the crowd. We were hanging back, none of us being particularly interested in pushing through the crowd or shouting to get attention, and as we stood there, watching and making silent "Holy shii!"
eyeballs at each other, I noticed a familiar red-shirted, be-hatted form sneaking through the crowd.
I called out "Nigel!" (I think
I called. It might have been a squeal. Oh god, I hope it wasn't a squeal), and he turned to me, looking a bit surprised. I babbled something inane at him, and felt frantically in my bag for my Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra CD. I asked him if he'd mind signing it, and offered it out to him. He held it and stared at me in surprise, and then laughed very gently. He said, "I can't believe you have this. Where....where did you get it?" I told him that Amplifier.co.nz owns my ass, and he nodded bemusedly. Amanda handed him her pen, and he took it, and slid the liner notes out, and laughed fondly as he unfolded it. As he signed his picture, I told him how much I loved it, and how I've been sustaining myself on bootleg copies of his version of Toto's Africa
from the Christmas show in Wellington
. He looked absolutely elated, and immediately told me that he'd recorded it already, and that it would be coming out quite soon. He also said that the WIUO is planning to do a tour of the US next year, probably in the summer, and that he'd make sure to get all the info up on the website
as soon as he knew for sure.
Nigel seemed absolutely amazed that at the edge of the Conchords crowd on a freezing cold night, there was this person who knew who he was, and was really, really excited to talk to him
, and not rushing to snap a pic with the boys. He must have said thank you to me
about five or six times, and it sounded incredibly heartfelt. He said, "No really, you're paying my rent. I appreciate your support so much. Thank you so
much for caring." I was blushing away, and telling him he was being silly, but he just looked so damn pleased that I wanted to ruffle his curls and give him an enormous hug. But I settled for asking him if it would be okay if I got a photo with him, and he said "Yeah!"
like it'd been the offer he'd been waiting for his whole life, and immediately put his arm around me, and patiently waited until Bibli and Amanda had gotten a shot (it took a while, figuring out flash settings and whatnot). I put my arm around his waist, and I could feel how warm he was through his thin red shirt. When we'd finished, he was still chatting away, but I was feeling badly for keeping him outside for so long, so I shooed him off to go get a coat on, and he grinned at me and disappeared through the stage door, unnoticed by the rest of the crowd.
Whew. Okay, I have to take a break for a mo, get some tea, and check if Bibli's up. Hang on.