“This is the real, real world,” insisted Neil Innes once his pastiche Beatles band had taken to the ABC stage after a showing of their 1978 TV mockumentary, All You Need Is Cash.
The Rutles - ABC, Glasgow
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The “Prefab Four” have now stretched to a fivesome, but of the original members, only Innes and drummer John Halsey remain intact (Eric Idle having run off to the flying circus for Python’s July reunion).
Surreal is the most apt description for this project, especially when Innes recalls being invited to CBS’ 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s American invasion.
There’s a touch of melancholy, too, as the band performs All Things Must Pass, a ballad from George Harrison, the Beatle who gave The Rutles their strongest endorsement by appearing in the movie as a news reporter.
But the over-riding emotion here is joy: the band clearly love playing these wonderfully realigned classics, The Rutles obsessive are in raptures, and curious observers can play a fun game of matching the spoof to its template: Ouch (Help), Doubleback Alley (Penny Lane) and so on.
The only potential downside comes when the band get a little too arch with their musicianship, but any sense of getting above themselves is brought crashing down with an Innes quip or by Halsey proving to be as versatile a vocalist as Ringo.
Admitting that the music industry doesn’t quite know where to place The Rutles, it’s clear to Innes that his baby is built for nights like this: unfettered nostalgia with a twist (and shout).
Seen on 30.05.14