Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rutlemania! The Rutles show on tour


The Rutles are on tour, sort of. It's actually Rutlemania, which if you're old enough to remember Beatlemania, means it's a bunch of other guys touring playing their music. Somehow, it works. Neil Innes, who created and sang in the original Rutles, and also in the classic comedy group the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band was in the audience and we saw him after the show. Eric Idle of Monty Python fame was also in the original group, and apparently also touring with them, but it was his birthday and he was probably with friends and family.
Proper application of T&A makes any show better.

If you don't know who the Rutles are, go to Netflix and rent The Rutles: All You Need is Cash, the 1978 mockumentary that predates, and inspired This is Spinal Tap. If you're a Beatles maniac like Master Comedian and Leading Asshole in the State Adam Wilson, there are so many jokes and homages that you'll be snickering like... Adam seeing a 'giner. If you're a fan like me, the movie is still great. So you'll be snickering like me, when Adam pronounces the word "vagina." It helps to know the basics of Beatles music and history so you can get the parodies, but the music is quite good in itself. Neil Innes and Eric Idle's musical backgrounds help a lot here, and a few of the songs sound so reminiscent of Beatles songs, but subtly so, that you'll be tapping your foot but also be amused at how they cleverly take the musical spirit of several Beatles songs and merge them into one that sounds good on its own.


Blue Suede Schubert captures the Beatles' early sound.

We saw them at the Blender theater in Gramercy, where I recently saw the Pillows. It's a well-designed small venue. They had chairs out for this show and we were in the second row. The show is part musical revue, part movie, and part Broadway. The new Rutles come out and play, with some dancing girls, then the stage goes dark as the projection screen shows clips from the Rutles movies. Many of the clips were from the sequel Can't Buy Me Lunch, which mostly consists of celebrity interviews, and is quite funny. Then there are some short vignettes with the band making jokes. It was a great time to remember the Rutles and re-live some of the great gags from the movie, such as when Ron Nasty, the John Lennon-alike, starts dating an avant-garde Nazi artist girl whose father "invented World War II."

You can be my Yoko Ono...

They had many costume changes of course, and when they reached the Tragical History Tour era they threw beach balls in the audience.

They even showed the Yellow Submarine animation spoof from the movie during this era, one of the more clever gags of the film.
Proper application of T&A can make any blog better.

They mimic every era of Beatles history, and end with a re-enactment of the rooftop concert, poking fun here and there.

John Lennon loved the movie, which is surprising since he takes the majority of the ribbing. McCartney apparently always answers "no comment" about it, Ringo liked the happy parts but thought the break-up stuff was too close to home, and George Harrison was actually involved in the writing of it.
Instead of just being Indian influenced, the George character is actually Indian in the Rutles.

The finale was excellent and instead of encores, they smartly segued into a medley of Beatles covers, including "Get Back," "I Saw Her Standing There," and "Twist and Shout." A great ending to a great show.


3 song medley.

After the show we met Neil Innes hanging outside the theater. He was talking to friends, so Adam and I just said we loved his work. At the time I actually didn't know he was in the Bonzo Dog Band, or I would have mugged him for a photo too. I hate being rude to celebrities, even minor ones, and he seemed preoccupied with friends. If he looked like he was sitting there with a "I hope someone recognizes me!" face on, I'd have done it. It was cool to meet him after the show anyway. Go see them if they come to your town!

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