The Rutles

The Cluny, Newcastle 25 May 2018

It’s the return of the Pre-Fab Four! They’re a bit older, a bit greyer, and a bit thicker around the middle but Ron Nasty and Barry Wom roll out their roadshow to The Cluny in Newcastle.

The Cluny is compact, let’s say, so the atmosphere is very much like playing in a Cavern. And what a full Cavern it is too. The audience is mostly older, but there’s more than a smattering of those whose belly doesn’t obscure the view of thier shoes.

The stage is, well let’s say “compact and bijou”, so the band stroll on and tool up before they launch into their set. The first number is I Must Be In Love, which pretty much sets the tone for the evening because the crowd sing along with gusto and cheer each new song with enthusiasm.

The set comprises mostly numbers from the two Rutles albums (the eponymous, and Archeology), so we get all the faves, like Ouch!, Cheese and Onions and Piggy In The Middle. Listening to all of these songs, it’s clear that Innes is a bit of a genius. As well as working on their own terms, these songs are beautiful, evocative parodies of The Beatles, but then he did have the odd Beatle or two giving him pointers to keep the lawyers at bit, if the stories are to be believed. While we mostly get Rutles numbers there are a smattering of covers. There’s a Max Bygraves ditty (Out of Town), complete with visual aids and a turn by the one and only Barrington Womble himself, stepping out from behind his kit momentarily. Then, towards the end of proceedings, and in honour of someone Innes calls, “probably the sixth Rutle”, is a straight, uke-driven version of All Things Must Pass. It’s wonderfully affecting, and clearly from the heart. It’s a lovely thing. Finally, they run parts of The End into the end of their second half closer, Get Up And Go. Again, it’s played straight (and wonderfully), including Ringo’s solo.

The encore serves mostly to wind things down and leave things on a slightly more reflective note, so we get Let’s Be Natural and Back in ’64 to finish the proceedings. The audience are not the only ones having a blast, because the band are too. They are clearly having a wonderful time, and seem genuinely surprised to be getting the wildly enhtusiastic reaction they ar: it’s heartwarming and, above all, fun. It was a wonderful, night. Thanks. chaps.


Setlist

First half

  • I Must Be in Love
  • It’s Looking Good
  • Baby Let Me Be
  • Living in Hope
  • It’s Been Forty Years (acapella)
  • Imitation Song
  • Major Happy’s Up and Coming Once Upon a Good Time Band
  • Rendezvous
  • Questionnaire
  • Ouch!
  • Piggy in the Middle
  • The Knicker Elastic King
  • Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik
  • Nevertheless
  • Joe Public
  • Number One
  • Hold My Hand

INTERVAL

Second Half

  • Doubleback Alley
  • Good Times Roll
  • Out of Town (Max Bygraves cover)
  • Another Day
  • Love Life
  • With a Girl Like You
  • Hey Mister!
  • Easy Listening
  • Shangri-La
  • Cheese and Onions
  • All Things Must Pass (George Harrison cover)
  • Goose-Step Mama
  • Get Up and Go
  • The End (The Beatles cover) (with “Major Happy” lyrics)

Encore

  • Let’s Be Natural
  • Back in ‘64