Thursday, 9th June 2005 in Rutles Farewell Tour 2005.
Lazy day –nice after a good gig. JJ and Griff stay over so we eat a very late lunch outside watching the ducks eat the fish food and the rabbits eating the plants and then leave in plenty of time for London. After about 15 minutes come to a dead stop and find ourselves in a 5 mile tailback. Every road we try is gridlocked so only thing to do is to sit tight, do crosswords, play I-Spy and think of other things. As soon as the jam clears JJ drives like the clappers to get us to London in time. At the 100 Club things are quickly unloaded and the band has the shortest sound check imaginable before the crowds are let in. Gig has provided rolls and fruit which are eaten in a dressing room 15’long by 4’ wide, which also houses the instrument cases. Ken’s comment ‘Ah, the last of many rutling gigs at the 100 Club with all of it’s luxury. Despite that I’ll miss the place’. Every professional musician has played at the 100 Club at some time or another despite the shape of the room, the size of the dressingroom and the difficulties of unloading and parking. There is a great deal of affection for the place – I saw The Sex Pistols there just before they were signed by Virgin – but that’s another story.
Neil comes on with Tom and JJ to cheers and they begin the set with ‘One of Those People’. So glad Neil has ‘friends’ tonight – exhausting enough doing your own support – but Tom and JJ lift the music and push the songs along.. Impossible to get a good photograph of Tom when he’s playing because he is never still. Tom has a love/hate relationship with the bass ‘its like having an awkward girlfriend who never wants to go anywhere’. Very few cars are big enough to hold the bass so it is a question of hauling it to gigs through the underground or on buses. However he/they get there the effort is worth it – he is one cool bass player. Get hold of the Big Strides album if you can – this is the other band Tom works with.
The sound is good and well balanced so you can hear all three instruments separately and together. ‘One Of Those People’ is followed by ‘Rory Motion’ plus adverts. Then ‘ Evening Sun’, all the way through to ‘Hero’. After 45 minutes they take short break and then Neil and JJ come back with the Rutles. There is a tremendous cheer. The crowds are standing, packed like sardines. The band launches into ‘Major Happy’, then John sings ‘Rendez-Vous’ and the band go into ‘Questionnaire’ and ‘Double back Alley’. ‘Good Times Roll’, ‘Goosestepping Mama’ and ‘Hold My Hand’ take the pace up a few notches and ‘With a Girl Like You’ brings it back to the gently lyrical again. Hey Mister(one of my favourites) is followed by another song for John ‘Living in Hope’ and then the huge favourite of audiences everywhere – ‘Cheese and Onions’. ‘I Must be in Love’, ‘Ouch’ and ‘Another Day lead into Piggy in The Middle’, ‘I Love You’ and Johns last song ‘Easy Listening’. ‘Eine Kleine’, ‘Joe Public’, and ‘Lets Be Natural’ lead to another big favourite – ‘Shangri La’ and the song with the message brings up the rear ‘Get Up and Go’ by which time you would have thought Neil would be on his last legs, but no, he does at least three encores one of which is Georges song ‘Isn’t It a pity’- the applause is deafening. Micky – always a sharp dresser on gigs gives up in the torrid eat of the 100 club and appears in black jacket and shorts, which is fine because you can’t see him below the waist. The band’s enthusiasm is infectious and the audience are ecstatic..
Afterwards many people buy ‘Works in Progress’ and comment on the first set –their eyes newly opened to the vast range of Neil’s song writing. This was really the idea behind Neil doing his own support. We quite often find that people have been turned on to the Rutles music without having a clue about what went on before or what else is going on now. In fact I think Neil is just at the start of a whole raft of new songs – wouldn’t be surprised if there is a ‘new’ new album next year. Although the gig is a long one for him he comes off the stage exhilarated and exhausted rather than just exhausted.
Loading the van is turning out to be a trauma. All Mickey’s keyboards have to be fitted in as well as the racks because although he is driving himself, he has no security for his car. Some of John’s drums have to come too and we watch the back wheels of the blue van getting flatter. The stage crew help bring the instruments out and because of the small space and the darkness it seems inevitable something will be left behind. Driving home we stop about half way for coffee to keep us awake for another hour and a half. Once home Neil and I go straight up to bed while the younger element sort the world out…..again, ending up with Tom wrapped in a huge Morroccan cloak sleeping in the garden.