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||The Gonzo Bog Doobrie whatsit
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Manchester Apollo November 15th 2006
After spending forever defrosting bread to make sandwiches, me and my dad set off at 5.25pm and made the journey to Manchester. On the motorway there was a sign saying “Animals on road, slow down” but we were very disappointed to then see the sign, “End” and no sight of any animals. We then got onto the M60, a big ring road that goes around Manchester, and looked out for junction 17. We first saw junction 19 and I said “wouldn’t it be funny if the next one was 20…” I spoke too soon. Nevertheless, my dad’s sense of direction is good and my mum’s advice of, “it’s the junction after Staples” proved invaluable, I never knew two people could get so excited at the sight of a Staples. We arrived in the Apollo car park at 6.45pm and ate our packed tea while giggling at the license plate of the car in front which ended with “WTF”. My dad put the car headlights on for me so I could take a pic of it with my mobile phone camera. We ventured into the theatre at about 7.10pm and I (thanks to Peej’s advice) bought a goody bag for £10, which had the tour programme, calendar, key ring, mug and poster, and your very own Bonzos carrier bag to put them in. Bargain. We found our seats in the stalls - very good seats they were too except the distinct lack of leg room. Me and my dad chatted and I tried to assure my dad that it’d be alright and he could always use this against me in future if he wanted, I didn’t mind because I knew I was in for a treat. The show started (10 minutes late) and was a joy from the very start, Neil was doing the twist to ‘Cool Britannia’ - from then on I knew this would be a brilliant night. The songs were all fantastic - I adored them all, although I could perhaps have lived without hearing ‘The Sound of Music’!
The band was all hilarious, and Adrian Edmondson and Phil Jupitus were superb. I adore ‘Legs’ Larry Smith, he was hilarious giving his monologue as Mr Wonderful (a cheesy American lounge singer “I’m not a bit like you, I’m a super showbiz star!”) Mr Wonderful talked about flying in from Vegas and his driver telling him to look out of a window to see a dead fox on the pavement with half of its head smashed in, a condom tied around its tail and resting on an empty Dominos pizza box. In its paw was a pen and with the pen it had written its last three dying words….”God Bless America”. Legs kept coming back to do bits and pieces, namely as Mabel for ‘Hello Mabel’ (including tap dancing). He also went to sort out Phil Jupitus when he was heckling through a megaphone from the circle. We couldn’t tell what he was saying but everyone started chanting “Larry, Larry” as he ran through the stalls and out of the back door, then appeared up in the circle to wrestle Phil to the floor and then attach a rope round his neck and throw him off the circle. We couldn’t see the fight going on but we saw the dummy (ooh, what a giveaway) being chucked over the circle - it was funny.
‘Jazz, Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold’ was a treat - Ade did a trumpet solo (“I’ve been practicing and now know how to work both valves”…”but there’s three valves, Ade!”) but he was surprisingly good, except he couldn’t get any noise out for the last few notes and he laughed about it, it was going so well! The solos during the song were all fantastic but you could never hear the start of them because of all the clapping. Sam Spoons’ spoon solo was genius - no one plays spoons like him. Vernon’s ‘Falling in Love Again’ was also brilliant - who’d have thought you could play the saw as a musical instrument and make it sound so beautiful? It was actually quite moving!
Roger brought out his theremin leg and got a lady on the front row (with interesting hair, a bit windswept from driving on the M62, apparently!) and made her stroke the leg, which she did, and the noise got more and more high-pitched the more she stroked, it was very naughty! Roger then spent a long time trying to set it so the leg wouldn’t keep making noises and, at last, managed to get the leg into its upright position and quiet enough while he introduced the song (‘Noises from the Leg’), he finished the song with a “bum note” by standing on a chair and sticking his botty onto the leg for some more interesting noises. It was amusing. Roger was great, he likes to make robots and for the second half he brought on three robots: one blew bubbles (while the band sung “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”), the other one, a lady robot, was accompanied with stripper music while its rude bits lit up, and the last robot had foam bursting out of the top of its head. Brilliant. Roger also managed to successfully press his trousers during ‘Trouser Press’ but, naturally with the Bonzos, the machine let off a lot of a smoke and had to be taken off stage. Roger also kept trying to do trumpet solos but as soon as he was about to start two trumpet policemen (his sons) would stop him and take him off stage. Ade would also usually come on stage with a truncheon and smack Roger over the head with it. When Roger and Legs did, “Le Deux Calapsos” they were arrested by French police! With Le Deux Calapsos they were doing very silly things like managing to jump once in-synch (wow!) and also setting up a seesaw for Roger to jump on while Legs stood on the other side, but it breaking when Roger jumped onto it from his chair. It was a tad worrying because they were both in berets, stripy tops, neckerchiefs, and extremely tight dark grey trousers. I think they might have been actual tights. Weird!
Phil Jupitus did ‘Big Shot’ (brilliantly) but was sitting at the table, pouring himself drinks while the band kept playing the intro over and over. Neil got up eventually, grabbed a mic for Phil and passed it to him - it was very funny (if staged!) They ended the first half with Tent and during a pause in the song they stood like statues for close to a minute before carrying on again, it was very funny. It doesn’t compare, however, to Ade’s insanely long finishing note on ‘My Pink Half of a Drainpipe’. There was a cunning moment where Ade was given some breathing time, but nevertheless he kept going and going while the stage went dark and there was just one spotlight on Ade. It must have been at least a minute long, maybe two minutes, it was insane. Needless to say, it brought the house down when he finished.
Neil introduced ‘I’m the Urban Spaceman’ as “and now for our medley of hit!” it was great to hear but by no means their best song. After the song Neil explained that the inspiration came from Manchester when he looked out of a window and saw loads of construction sites called “urban spaces” and said, “if there’s urban spaces I thought there must be urban spacemen - so thank you Manchester!” That was a nice moment.
In the first half there was a fair amount of banter between songs, including the classic, “are there any heterosexuals in the audience?! The trouble with men and women is that they know how to get the maximum frustration out of one another using the minimum effort!” My favourite joke, however, was “The difference between men and women is that women generalise and men don’t”. Neil Innes, I bow down before you! In the second half most songs usually followed on from one another so there wasn’t much breathing space, their energy was amazing. I particularly enjoyed ‘Monster Mash’ for Sam Spoons playing the ‘electric’ spoons - he’s fantastic. He was also very good with boxes, where he had three boxes and juggled them about (difficult to describe!) and then the middle box got stuck to the front of his bright orange dungarees, hee hee. The second time he got the boxes was during ‘Keynsham’ - he was trying to stack them on top of one another while holding them but he couldn’t reach to put the last box on, so Roger got him a chair and then he could reach. Sam then managed to turn all the boxes round to spell out ‘Keynsham’. Sam was used as a ventriloquist dummy for Bob Kerr doing ‘Little Sir Echo’, who started smoking on stage (sticking up two fingers to us all in the process) and when Bob came back on stage with Sam on his knee he couldn’t get any more from his cigarette, so he dropped the cigarette and Sam opened his mouth and smoke came out! Sam then sung the song but was all garbled (he was a dummy after all) and when Bob started drinking Sam started making glugging noises. It was great. Sam then came galloping on stage with a horse’s head during the ‘Equestrian Statue’ chorus - that was funny.
Ade Edmondson came on stage dressed as a parrot for ‘Mr Slater’s Parrot’ and looked right at the front row from the edge of the stage “you know what’s coming, did you think you could buy front row seats and be safe?” Ade then went into the crowd and got people to say “hello” until Phil came down the other aisle with a blow dart and started falling Ade back to the stage, where Ade was killed by Phil. One of the last songs was ‘Canyons of your Mind’ with Phil Jupitus being carried on dressed in an Elvis suit. He performed it so well, and then went into the crowd (actually climbing/crawling over people) to sing to a girl in the audience - including flashing his chest and making lots of drunken noises in the music breaks, it was hilarious. The set finished with the ‘Intro & Outro’ where the band were introduced (including Phil on guitar and Ade on triangle), culminating in a standing ovation. They came back to do ‘Music for the Head Ballet’, which was funny, then the second encore was ‘Busted’, which was very well done. Vernon still kept going with his musical saw, playing a Christmas carol of some sort (might have been ‘Silent Night’) and it was very moving to see them all standing in one corner of the stage watching Vernon continue. For some reason the bass player was now dressed as a gorilla, it was highly confusing! They then took a bow while Phil called them “old fuckers”, said he had spotted Sam sniffing a line of Horlicks before the show and claimed that the reason they hadn’t been together in so long is because they were secretly Slipknot (“well who else would dress like that?!”) They were greeted with a second standing ovation as they left. Roger then sneaked back on stage with a trumpet, was about to play a note, then the lights went. It got a big laugh, he never got a trumpet solo after all! What a fantastic night, I want to see it again!
The set list (in a very vague order)
• Cool Britannia (Neil)
• By A Waterfall (by David Catlin-Birch a.k.a Paul in the Bootleg Beatles)
• My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies (after the minute cacophony) (Neil)
• Look At Me I’m Wonderful (Legs)
• I Left My Heart in San Fransisco (Legs)
• Falling In Love Again (Vernon)
• I’m Bored (Ade)
• Look Out There’s A Monster Coming (Phil)
• Noises for the Leg (Roger)
• Mr Slater’s Parrot (Ade)
• Big Shot (Phil)
• Jazz, Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold (all)
• The Sound of Music (Ade)
• Rockaliser Baby (Neil and Phil)
• Tent (Ade)
• We Are Normal (Neil and Phil)
• The Strain (Ade)
• Hello Mabel (Neil)
• My Pink Half of the Drainpipe (Ade)
• Trouser Press (Ade and Roger)
• What Do You Do? (Neil and Phil)
• Keynsham (Neil)
• Mr Apollo (Neil and Phil)
• Rhinocratic Oaths (Ade)
• Equestrian Statue (Neil)
• Jollity Farm (Neil)
• Sport (David, Neil, Ade, Phil)
• Little Sir Echo (Bob and Sam)
• Urban Spaceman (Neil)
• Monster Mash (Legs)
• Canyons of your Mind (Phil)
• Intro & Outro (Neil)
• Music for the Head Ballet (all)
• Busted (Neil, Phil and Ade)
Mood - Jolly
Music - Bonzo Dog Band - Look Out There's A Monster Coming
|Edited - Never