Neil Innes on stage in Ipswich
Neil Innes, Urban Spaceman, seventh Python, friend of the Fabs and the nicest man in showbiz, walked towards me having just concluded a hugely entertaining performance with The Rutles in front of an intimate gathering of 75 or so Ipswich punters. 'Ah, there you are' he said, shaking my hand vigorously as if greeting a long lost friend. 'I could see you in the audience from here upwards...', holding a flattened palm across the bridge of his nose to illustrate, '....and I thought, bloody hell, it's John Cleese!' Now I've been mistaken for a couple of famous people in my time (one of which I wrote about here), but never a septuagenarian comedy legend. 'Of course,' Innes continued, by way of apologetic explanation, 'I wasn't wearing my glasses at the time!' He smiled broadly as he signed my original 1978 Rutles LP, chatted a little more, thanked me for coming and firmly shook my hand once again. The show was by way of a full dress rehearsal for the month long 'Major Happy Tour', which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the film, 'The Rutles: All You Need is Cash'.
'Of course, for the purposes of the movie,' said Innes from the stage earlier in the evening, 'we pretended that The Beatles had never existed'. Short pause. 'But now, 40 years on, I suppose I can admit that there are certain similarities between their work and ours.' Cue a warm wave of laughter from the audience.
If the tour is due to pass through your town, I'd thoroughly recommend bagging yerself a ticket. You'll find yourself involuntarily grinning from ear to ear at the brilliantly interwoven Fabs references that litter Neil's terrific original songs from the 1978 LP, 1996's 'Archaeology' and recent release, 'The Wheat Album'. You'll very possibly also have to sniff back a tear or two if Innes & Co decide to keep their covers of 'All Things Must Pass' and 'The End' in the set.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
The Rutles - Shangri-La