Saturday, 11th June 2005 in Rutles Farewell Tour 2005.
A short drive today to Stratford On Avon so we sit in the foyer of the hotel waiting as one by one the guys appear, Conversation is quiet in keeping with the hangovers. During the journey to Stratford Griff tells me of his last tour where they had a road crew with guitar technicians etc, so that all the band had to do when arriving at a gig was walk on and then walk off at the end of it and be driven home. No nasty humping, restringing, tuning or any kind of sorting the stage out. Even watching the Rutles lifting their amps and flight cases every night is traumatic. Next tour it will all be different, I think. Dream on.
Cox’s yard in Stratford is tiny with a low stage. There is nowhere for Mickey to set up his keyboards so he has to put them in a space off the stage next to the bar. It would be a good for Neil Innes + friends if there were any seats. For this gig there is standing only so realise we might not see much of the band tonight. The theatre is in a sort of crafty complex with cafes and little shops right on the river and the dressing room is the best ever. Huge with sofas, and dining table with chairs as well as a balcony overlooking the river where ducks and swans were in various stages of courtship. To the right a long and very old roman footbridge with arches and, every now and then a punt glides silently through. We all have a very civilised supper sitting at a table and then Neil Tom and JJ begin their set.
It goes well but it is difficult because only the tops of their heads can be seen by anyone further than 5 rows from the front. Some people come in at the back and talk and laugh loudly as if they were in a bar- seemed to have no idea anything was going on. I ask them why they bothered to pay just to talk amongst themselves and they ignore me completely. I look down to check I am still there – an existential moment. People did enjoy the set but I am glad to leave the hot noisy space for a while to stand on the dressing room balcony and watch the ducks and swans mating and dancers cavorting at a party in a marquee across the river. Music of George Michael mixes with the Rutles – mmmmm. Afterwards as Neil signs CDs, Tom helps me to pack away his instruments and we drive to a Travelodge for the night. ‘My get up and go got up and went after overdoing it on Get Up and Go’. Ken’s comment after enjoying himself too much.