Before the gig
I travelled from London to Birmingham with onlyalways and Sara and met up with sarpugster to explore Birmingham's city centre before the show.
Doors opened at 6.30pm and I turned up at the NIA at 7pm. I was quite worried when I read notices on the doors of the entrance stating that cameras weren't allowed. However, I don't think any cameras were confiscated and the security guy didn't even look carefully through my bag. As soon as I entered the venue, I headed straight to the merchandise stand and was told that only 50 tea towels were put up for sale and they sold out really quickly but more were on the way so I had to go back to buy a tea towel after a few more were put out. I also bought the gig poster and glittery t-shirt.
Onlyalways, sarpugster, Sara and I hung around for a little while checking out the venue from the balcony. It was pretty huge as expected.
I have sarpugster to thank for purchasing my ticket in Block C on the ground floor and it was an absolute pleasure sitting next to her as we both had a blast throughout the whole gig. As we waited for the show to start, the atmosphere inside the NIA was electric. Not too long before Eugene came on, they played the NZ Tourism advert from the archives ("New Zealand is yours. Go there now"- this was posted as a video on FOTC's MySpace blog
)Warning: My account of the show is quite spoilerish so don't read if you don't want to know anything about what the gigs may be like!
Also I have tried to quote them as best as I remember but I may have misquoted them and mixed a few things up. The showEugene's set
Jemaine introduced Eugene in what I guess sounded like a Northern accent (probably a Yorkshire accent) saying that he's so funny that we'll not only pee on ourselves but on the person next to us. Eugene delivered a really good set. He talked about a flyer he received in Birmingham with a pic of a dog and a pic of a pig asking why we'd eat one of these animals and not the other and Eugene said that he'll go ahead and eat a dog. Eugene mentioned that the only thing he picked up about Birmingham is that the buildings look as though they're from the Soviet era. He talked about one of his book launch events where there was a 12 year old with Asperger's Syndrome who wondered why Eugene was getting all the attention and not himself and the boy said that Eugene should worship him as his god and Eugene went along with that. He also talked about a boy who told his mum that Eugene dared him to do something childish but Eugene said that he wouldn't give wimpy dares and if he did dare the boy, the boy would end up dead.
He spoke about a poll he saw on MySpace about gay marriage which led to an ad to win 2 BlackBerry Storms. This caused Eugene to come up with a few polls of his own which he shared with us to direct traffic to his site. He also showed us a video he did for grist.org at the Climate Change conference at Copenhagen on the big screens. This seemed to be amongst Eugene's biggest laughs from the crowd particularly when he talked to someone who doesn't believe in Climate Change when she mistakenly thought Eugene was from somewhere else and said 'I can't belive you got a fact wrong! Zing!' . It can be found on YouTube here
. Towards the end of his set, Eugene talked about a speeding ticket he received. His charge was eventually lessened but he decided to write a letter to them which he read out.FOTC!
Bret and Jemaine opened their set with Too Many Dicks with their lit up robotic cardboard heads. They then went into Most Beautiful Girl with a good addition into the song from Jemaine of "plus size model". After a couple of songs, Nigel was introduced as the New Zealand Symphony orchestra which led to the story about the other two members who couldn't make it since one missed his flight and the next flight is next month when the tour is over and the other member forgot her tuba. They said they brought her out for 40 minutes at the Manchester gig but it didn't work out. Nigel wore a big red bow tie and looked very smart as usual.
Towards the beginning of the gig, Jemaine pointed out that Bret had some pink stuff in his hair and wanted it to be taken out. So Jemaine called Matt on stage and to take it out of his hair and said that was what Matt was there for.
Throughout the gig, there were bits of banter about Bret and Jemaine's rock n roll lifestyle on tour such as the time when they were offered complimentary muffins but they didn't want to eat them as they were watching their weight but they were caught out as Bret spotted crumbs around Jemaine's mouth. However, this took place 5 years ago. Another rock n roll anecdote was when they were standing in the elevator for 7 minutes but then realised that they failed to press the button. Jemaine tried to get Bret to talk about the 'groupies and the goldfish' but Bret was refused and thought it wasn't appropriate. Then Jemaine mumbled something about it involving vaginas
Bret also asked Jemaine to do a Manchester accent but Jemaine pointed out there were in Birmingham so there was a low, disapproving groan from the audience and Bret tried to get out of the sticky situation by saying that there were insulting Manchester by mimicking their accent. Bret mimicked the accent of someone in the front who said "I'm from Birmingham" so then they asked the audience where everyone was from and at one point Jemaine said that he just wanted to hear the funny accents. So a few people shouted out where they're from and Bret repeated someone who said Coventry and looked disgusted. After hearing some people shout where they were from in a football chant style, Jemaine said "I've been watching football on the news and I don't want another riot." Jemaine also had a go at the Birmingham accent although it sounded like a mixture of many regional accents.
Jemaine heard someone make a sheep noise so they played off that throughout the evening. He said that it wouldn't be unusual for there to be a few sheep in the audience in NZ. He also said, "If someone is making sheep noises, how insulting! If there is an actual sheep here, welcome."
They then said that the sheep noises lead on well to their next song Hurt Feelings. At the beginning, Jemaine talked about their 'brother' Tupac and how he had hurt feelings before he died. The 'Issues' were also discussed including famine which according to them involves waking up with no food in the cupboard and feeling famished. There's also the issue of whales who need to dial emergency services because they are drowning in the sea because they are mammals and thus should be on the land and due to their flippers, they find it hard to call 999.
They played the new song Woo a Lady which went down really well with the crowd and afterwards Bret said something like â€œOh so you're into Medival sh*t?". H v R was another crowd pleasure especially when Jemaine got he first 10 rows pregnant and said "Congratulations, bitches" which got a big laugh. Ladies of the World was played with them including "Birmingham" in the lyrics. They encouraged audience participation during Epileptic dogs and got the crowd to join in by singing along and joining in. I'm Not crying was also played and Jemaine tried to give the fading out effect when he repeats "not crying" by leaning further away from the mic and then he got out of his chair and backed even further away from his mic.
Foux du Fafa was great and I loved the addition from Bret of "Le coq sportif" and "l'interlude" from Folk The World where Bret was saying random "Formidable!" "Amazing-le! Wow!"
At one point during the show, someone shouted out "I love you, Bret" so Jemaine strummed is guitar and sang "I've got hurt feelings". This led to a few people shouting out that they love Jemaine but he replied "No, you're just saying that." People shouted out that they loved Nigel so he put his hand in the air with pride. Jemaine then said it was enough and that they were "not Boyzone" (a famous Irish boyband).
There were some people further back shouting things like "I love you" and Jemaine said he couldn't hear them because they are too far back and said that if they paid more money, they would have better seats. He went on to say that he knows the middle class people at the front appreciated that joke.
Bret asked the people in the section at the back of the arena to cheer and they gave a really enthusiastic cheer and Bret said they sounded as though they were attending much better gig than this one.
Bret said his favourite heckler of the night was some guy who randomly shouted out in a thick accent, sort of aggressively "My name is BrahBrah!"
Before Bowie there was banter about time tripping on acid and when they ended up at David Bowie's party in the mid 70's where Bret and Bowie laid down some "rancid chops". They also talked about Bret jamming out with Bowie but Jem missed out because he was comforting ladies in the bathroom who happened to be present day Tina Turner with a younger version of herself. Present Day Tina Turner was telling her to leave Ike and Jem advises that she probably should and wanted to say "What's love got to do, got to do with it." Bret talked about playing Bowie an easy to play Bowie book to make the next 20 years a lot easier for him. Jemaine also talked about the formation of FOTC when it was only him in the band but Bret just joined in and he just kept playing behind Bret and to demonstrate, Jemaine got out of his seat and stood behind Bret but Bret said he did the same with Bowie but it wasn't successful.
Jemaine got out his bass uke for Bowie and they made a swift change into their glitter suits with their trousers still on. They then tore off their trousers revealing their full outfit. They said that Nigel got in on the act as well so he stripped but had difficulty taking off ripping off his trousers, bless him! Jemaine told him that there was a knack to how you do it. After Nigel was ready, they totally rocked out whilst playing Demon Woman. And yes there was some fast tongue action on Jemaine's part at some point during the song.
They did the whole thing of pretending to trash the stage by knocking over the stools carefully and pretending to smash their guitars when they finished.
After leaving the stage to rapturous applause, Bret and Jemaine returned to stage for the encore. Jemaine was struggling to put his trousers back on so someone shouted "Take it off!" and they both said that he already did and then someone shouted "Put them on!" which Bret liked. During the show someone shouted out "Business Time" and Jemaine mock whispered that they were going to go off stage and then come back on to play it. And so they played it during the encore. Jemaine even played the recorder during that song. Jemaine then introduced Bus Driver's Song as a love song and it sounded absolutely beautiful live. After this it look as though they were about to play mutha'uckas as Bret set himself up on the drums but they heard a group of people shouting Albi. At first Bret tried to play the drums to Albi but realised it didn't work so he decided to use Little Red. Jemaine's accent seemed to progress into a sort of Northern accent during the song. Then all of a sudden at the end of the song, he played the remix of Epileptic Dogs just to try it out which was quite funny!
Someone asked Jemaine to marry her and Jemaine accepted and said we could all witness the marriage. There were some cheers and Bret pointed out that we seemed mildly excited about this. There was the popular heckle of "Where's Murray?" to which Jemaine replied that he's with other fictional characters such as The Flintstones and the dinosaur eating steak.
Towards the end of the gig, Jemaine said that we were a nice audience despite the sheep noises that were made so people began to make sheep noises again and someone decided to moo. Jemaine thought they said "boo" and said that wasn't the sound a sheep makes. Bret pointed that he was mooing and said "They're going all farmyard on us".
The night ended with Sexy Lady/ Sugalumps. Jemaine's trousers were coming off so as they jumped down, they practically dropped down. As others have mentioned both Bret and Jemaine underestimated how high up the stage was so were trying to figure out how to get up. Bret invited a girl to come towards him and she did so he shouted out security and a security guy came so she held the security guy and danced backed to her seat.
I think Matt was trying to help Bret up on stage and some security guy tried to help Jemaine up on stage and his hand was indeed quite close to Jemaine's sugalumps so Jemaine sang about that.
Bret, Jemaine and Nigel left the stage to a standing ovation and Matt came out soon afterwards with a camera to take a photo of the crowd.General comments about the show
As I said before, the audience were generally well behaved. Sure, there were a few hecklers but they didn't get annoying and I definitely didn't seem them as a problem. For such a large crowd, I was impressed with how respectful everyone seemed to be. Everyone seemed to be attentive and maybe a little quieter than expected on some occasions but overall everyone seemed to be really into the show in a respectful manner.
Also adding to what I said before, the sound system was top notch. I was kind of worried about how the sound might be like in a large arena and wondered if I'd be able to make out all of the lyrics to the new song but at least from where I was sitting and what I could hear, everything was crystal clear. Kudos definitely goes out to Matt and everyone else working behind the scenes for making the technical aspects of the show a success.
Lastly I don't mean to gush on, but I will anyway, as well as showcasing their comedic talents with good banter in between songs, both Bret and Jemaine yet again proved that they are accomplished musicians. They reached all the right notes and sang impressive harmonies. They sang and bantered with a large crowd but somehow the feel of an intimate gig still wasn't lost.Coming up, my experience at the Meet and Greet.