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||The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Usher Hall, Edinburgh
|** NOTE: The layout for this is better on my blog page: http://www.pjharding.blog.co.uk/ **
Time for a new journal entry methinks and what better than to write about the most amazing concert I have ever been to!
I had my ticket booked since July (I think) and my will to go long before then and finally November came round. Jess of JessPix fame was also going to a Bonzo show at Manchester two days after me. In the week before the concerts we were both reading the amazing reviews that were coming in. No one had anything negative to say and these reviews weren't just 'it was good/ excellent' but people were saying 'this was f**king awesome as no other adjective was strong enough to explain their joy of the concert!
So a proper review is to follow when my brain has settled a bit but here are some notes I made the morning after that you can have a read of...
Got to Usher Hall around 7pm - was completely exhausted from "Christmas shopping" (I was actually walking the length of Princes Street and George Street several times holding parents shopping!) and I went straight to the merchandise stall (what a surprise).
Dad bought a 3 DVD set on the Bonzos and I splashed out on a £10 special - containing the best tourbook I have ever read, a 2007 calendar (guess who Mr September is!), a really expensive looking keyring, a mug and a poster. I was chuffed - bargain hunting is a hobby of mine. Yvonne Innes (Neil's wife) served me and noticed my egowarriors badge and we had a brief chat about Alnwick.
So then we went into the Usher Hall and it was packed! I would say they were about 300 -400 seats short of a sell out! There was a silly couple about two rows ahead who never showed up but that was fine by me as I had a better view! We were 7 rows from the front on Neil's side.
They were about 15 mins late in starting and I really wish I had a setlist. Jess asked me earlier if I could pick a favourite song and I really can't! They were all amazing. Cool Britannia was a great opening and the energy just rolled from there - and there was a hottie in the house band called David Catlin - Birch (Paul from the Bootleg Beatles) who was excellent; he wasn't quite a special guest but he was more than a house band member. He sang songs like By A Waterfall, Sport (The Odd Boy) and others - my mind is flying. He was very hot as well...
Adrian Edmunson came into the crowd as Mr Slater's Parrot and picked on some poor girl in the front row *phew* I wasn't sitting there! He was chased off by Phil Jupitus who was brandishing a digerie doo (sp?) like a pea shooter. The intro to Trouser Press was great with Phil heckling Legs from the grand circle balcony and everyone boo-ing him! Phil also climbed over seats during Canyons of Your Mind and got about 8 rows in to where this poor girl was desperately trying to escape him! I love that they not only encouraged the audience to join in songs but actually brought the show into the audience!
They did Equestrian Statue (mum and I had been singing it alllllll day) with Sam Spoons on his 'horse' galloping over the stage and then being encouraged by David who first fed the horse a lump of sugar and then Sam Spoons a lump. Urban Spaceman was fantastic and Mr Apollo simply rocked! It was amazing; it really was.
Roger and his (I presume) sons Tim and Justin were having a great night - Roger is like Tim B-T; you could be forgiven for thinking he's a schoolboy! Roger was desperate to do his trumpet solo all night and the 'Trumpet Wardens' came on and escorted him off several times. The Deux Calapsos appeared on stage as well.... I think Legs was actually wearing some thick looking tights - they were definately skin tight!
Rodney forgot his chicken clarinet solo during Pink Half of the Drainpipe - oops! Neil had to repeat 'Rodney will now do his...' Was funny though Rodney was like 'woops sorry everyone!' and then did it. Rodney was great rocking along and he is so talented; he must have played at least 6 different instruments!
Vernon on his musical saw singing 'Fallink in Luff again' classic - everyone was cheering so much he held up a sign saying 'control yourselves' - he held it up again at the very end of the concert when everyone was standing and cheering.
Bob Kerr was great as well - Little Sir Echo - he brought out a sign with 'hello' written on it saying "Please join in and say the word on the sign when I hold it up" So we did and then he forgot to hold it up and we all sang hello at the right spot anyway and he said 'you've been here before!' hee hee.
Legs was great throughout the show - he had been asked to sing Jollity Farm but didn't seem to know the words well and Neil took the piss when he said 'that's a funny sounding bird' after Legs fluffed. Woops! He also had some good tap dancing moves during Hello Mabel.
Sam Spoons on the electric spoons... enough said. He is a cutlery weilding hero! He was fantastic during the Moster Mash - you can see him in action on a DVD but you don't know the power till you see it in real life! He's amazing. He was hilarious as well knitting during one of the songs, drawing something on the bass drum skin (I couldn't see what) and changing animal masks during Jollity Farm and a hundred other things I will probably remember later.
I'm sure there's someone I haven't mentioned yet...
Ahh yes Neil! He was ace as usual! He was in top form and kept starting songs, stopping and re-setting the microphones or stage for various people! Hee hee. He also helped out Roger with his broken leg - when he plays the vibro- thingy shaped (have completely forgotten the name) as The Leg; it had broken in Liverpool and he and Neil needed to get it to settle! Gosh. Neil broke a guitar string during Mr Apollo and affected a guitar change as soon as - when he started playing on the new guitar he had one of the levels set too high which gave the audience and Phil Jupitus a shock (Phil hadn't noticed the guitar change!). Neil just rocked completely!
They did a version of Intro & Outro to end the show and Neil introduced everyone to the whole band and at the end of it someone yelled something about Vivian Stanshall and Neil replied 'it's all for Viv' with his arm raised in a Bill Eckythump salute - it was lovely. The minute's cacophany as well was something - I will never hear anything like that again! A fitting tribute.
At the end, the guys left the stage and the audience was mostly (inc. me and mum and dad) on our feet clapping and cheering and they came back to do the Head Ballet which was a hoot! They seemed to get it wrong at one point and I'm never sure if it's deliberate or not but Bob Kerr definately forgot to something because he laughed and mouthed 'I forgot' to Rodney next to him. It was excellent and then they performed a song I hadn't heard before that I now know to be 'Busted'.
A vast majority of people were on their feet at the end of the song and Tim and Justin [Spear] came on dressed as Policemen to escort the band off; they all stood in a huddled group on stage right looking sorry for themselves before Vernon started 'Silent Night' (I think it was) on the Musical Saw and everyone joined in singing. Excellent.
If only the night could have gone on and if only I could have afforded to go to Manchester or the London gigs... it was amazing!
After the gig we met Roger in the foyer - he was waiting for a cab to take him to the train station. He very kindly signed my poster for me and then we hung around the foyer a bit as everyone else seemed to be before the Theatre Manager sent us (about 10 people) to the stage door round the left of the building and about 10 mins later a (quite fit) guy sent us to the band exit on the other side of the building!
We waited till about 11pm but it was freezing and no one else appeared. The fit guy appeared again and apologised because there was a party on that he hadn't known about and it wouldn't finish till gone midnight. So we went home. It rocked.
I'm so lucky to have had a chance to see them live!
On the way home we listened to the Bonzo Outro Cornology CD which I'd picked up for £5 at HMV earlier so I was a very happy Peej!
I can't stop singing Hunting Tigers now (even though they didn't perform it) and I love 'By A Waterfall' - lovely!
More notes are being made as I remember them and I want to write a proper review at some point soon which I'll post on my blog.
A FANTASTIC night - I can't recommend it enough - it really is the best show I have ever been to.
EDITED TO ADD A LOT OF EXTRA NOTES:
* Neil asked for people to turn off mobile phones and suddenly we heard a traditional phone bell ring- lo and behold Roger's "mobile phone" had gone off and his next gadget the "Rowmonium" arrived.
* Classic quote - on stage in Edinburgh Bob Kerr says "I'm now going to do something none of you can do" and promptly lights a cigarette on stage.
*'Jazz, Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold' - excellent; I never knew Ade Edmunson could play the trumpet (apparently neither did he)... Ade said he's been practising the trumpet and learnt to play both valves now, Roger pointed out to him there were three valves... Ade was excellent though.
* Classic quote 2- Neil Innes: "This next song is so old it's from a time when 'gay' meant 'cheerful'"
* Ade Edmunson holding the end note of 'My Pink Half of the Drainpipe' for long after the band had finished playing - Neil: "A new record there Ade!"
* They did 'Rockaliser Baby'
* David C-B lead the singing for 'The Odd Boy (Sport)' with some good supporting actions during the chorus (I find myself doing them now); Ade read the letter and Phil suggested the nice cold shower.
* Plenty of explosions, fireworks and exciting lighting.
* The entire band went still in the middle of a song for about 5 - 10 seconds and then carried on as though nothing had happened - excellent control but no idea which song.
* Legs sang Monster Mash
* Sam Spoons was knitting during a song (possibly Sport) and at the end help up a scarf and chanted "Enger-land!" and promptly got booed by the largely Scottish audience; me, mum and dad kept quiet.
* Legs tap danced during 'Hello Mabel'
* 'Big Shot' - Phil Jupitus sat stage left at a table pouring drinks while the 'Big Shot' intro was repeated with Neil going 'pssst' to Phil before taking him the microphone and restarting the song - staged.
* A selection of Ruskin-Spear inventions: The Rownmonium for 'My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies' and his Robots 1. - male and did Edward Heath impressions and blew bubbles; 2. female - alternately lit up its face and boobs to stripper music; 3. Had foam bursting out of its head! Originals from 60s.
* Neil possibly did the Twist (the dance) during 'Cool Brittania' - he did at Manchester but I was so busy trying to take everything in I can't remember.
* Sam Spoons juggled his boxes and one stuck to the front of his dungarees during one song. During another song he was building a tower with them and couldn't reach to get the third brick on top so climbed on a chair (provided) to put the third brick on - you had to be there sorry. His spoon wielding was amazing!
*turns hand scribbled page over and realises there are MORE notes - it was the most visual and musical fulfilling show I have ever been to*
* Legs - as Mr Wonderful told us a story about flying in from Vegas and was being chauffeured when the driver stopped the limo and told him to wind down the window. Legs did and looked and saw a dead fox on the pavement (road for non- Americans ). He knows the fox is dead because half it's head is smashed in, there's a condom tied round it's tail and there was an empty pizza box and a pen in it's paw. On the pizza box the fox had written it's last words: "God Bless America"
* Legs (again) after tap dancing on 'Hello Mabel' is heckled from the grand circle (Phil Jupitus) and Legs leaves the stage to "sort him out". Legs arrives at the Grand Circle and "punches" the heckler to the ground before finishing him off by throwing him over the balcony from a rope (don't worry Phil is ok; it was a dummy).
* Roger; ended with a bum note on his Theremin Leg i.e. he stood on a chair and waved his bum over the leg to produce the note. My dad missed his calling - he should have been a Bonzo.
* Ade had a truncheon which he would hit Roger with if he tried to do a trumpet solo
* At the end of Mr Slater's Parrot; Phil Jupitus "hit" Ade Edmuson (dressed as parrot) with a blow dart (or similar) and Ade shouted "Ouch! Is there a vet in the house?" Before quitting the stage quickly... apparently there was one towards the back of the stalls.
* The bass player in the house band returned on stage during the encore (I think) dressed as a Gorilla - alluding to the Bonzo album entitled 'Gorilla'?
* Phil Jupitus made a joke of catching Sam Spoons sniffing a line of Horlicks.
* Edinburgh gave the Bonzos three standing ovations of which me and my folks participated in all. My dad doesn't usually do things like that so he must have REALLY enjoyed the night - excellent!
A pat on the back to you if you have gotten this far! One last thing is the set list:
By a waterfall
My brother makes the noises for the talkies
Look at me I'm wonderful/I left my heart in San Francisco
Falling in love again
Jazz, delicious hot, disgusting cold
Noises for the leg
Mr Slater's parrot
The sound of music
We are normal / robots
What do you do?
Little Sir Echo
My pink half of the drainpipe
Canyons of your mind
The intro and the outro
Music for the head ballet
Mood - Sing sing singety sing - consider me singing
Music - Cornology Album - Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band