NEW YORK SEPTEMBER 2005
Neil approached by Bob Carruthers- he of the very watchable documentary ‘Inside The Bonzos’ – with the idea of maybe bringing the Bonzos together for one last concert. He had just seen Neil’s ten-minute Bonzo tribute which he does at the beginning of his set – very funny and a great favourite with his audiences. Although Neil was intrigued, memories of why the Bonzos originally split up surfaced, as they must do with every group reuniting after a long gap. Neil said ‘No’ very clearly, ‘the job would be too enormous’, but Bob persisted till in the end Neil said he would ring the Bonzos when he got back to England and if they all wanted the gig to go ahead – maybe …….
Bob had thought that the best way to organise it – knowing that most of the original Bonzos had not played professionally for a while – would be for Neil to get a backing band together. That way the Bonzos could do as much or as little as they wanted to do. Bob had thought Neil should do the first half as The Rutles and the second half as one of The Bonzos. But Neil thought that it was inappropriate having The Rutles with the Bonzos and also that there was easily enough Bonzo material. Initially, though the other Bonzos were all up for the gig, they were worried that they would not be able to fill two hours but fears were soon dispelled with the idea of asking celebrities to fill in the enormous gap left by Vivian Stanshall. Stephen Fry – the obvious choice- plus Ade Edmundson, Paul Merton and Phil Jupitus were all happy to do the gig, so with the arrival of a provisional set list the gig was on.
So here goes – a blow by blow account of the days leading up to and including the Astoria gig – with as many photographs as I can get in. Please bear in mind that because of the size of the rehearsal room I could not use a tripod. Also the light levels were bad and because of the filming, I could not use flash. In spite of all this I think I got some reasonable photographs-grovel grovel excuse excuse etc etc.