Well, not all reviews can be a good review, I guess. I haven’t seen any of the 10th incarnation of the All-Starr Band, but this review says that the band “seemed bored” in last nights show. At least the review says that Ringo seemed to be having fun, I guess this reviewer just wasn’t thrilled with the other All-Starrs…
Here’s what we’ve read:
Ringo Starr and his 10th All-Starr Band wrapped up a 31 date tour with a nostalgia-drenched set Saturday night at the Greek. The concept for the evening is simple: In between Beatles and Ringo solo tracks, most of the All-Starr band members – Billy Squier, Edgar Winter, Colin Hay, Stuart Hamish, and Gary Wright – get to take turns performing their own solo material. Gregg Bissonette, thankfully, seems content to just play drums.
The evening is designed for frivolity, and certainly, there is a loose, playful vibe to the proceedings that carries over to the mostly baby boomer audience. Many of whom sing along and dance carefree in the aisles, while screaming “I love you, Ringo!”, “Play ‘Octopus’s Garden!”, and, oddly, “Sex!” in between every song.
Ringo, wearing glitzy black satin duds, takes the stage to an instrumental “With A Little Help From My Friends”. The band launches into “It Don’t Come Easy” before Starr introduces “the only song written by Starkey, Lennon and McCartney”, “What Goes On”. After “Memphis In Your Mind” from 2003’s “Ringorama”, Ringo moves behind the drum kit, and turns center stage over to his bandmates.
And that’s where the problems begin.
Like a jukebox in some nightmare bar, the bulk of the next hour and a half is devoted to an almost random smattering of tunes. Billy Squier, in surprisingly good form, gives us “The Stroke” and “Lonely is the Night” (featuring Gary Wright on keytar!). Edgar Winter, jumping from keyboard to saxophone to percussion, breaks out “Free Ride” and what feels like a 25 minute version of “Frankenstein”. Colin Hay sings Men at Work hits. Gary Wright turns a story about playing on George Harrison’s excellent “All Things Must Pass” into an introduction for the guitarless, soporific “Dream Weaver”. Former Paul McCartney bassist and Average White Band member breaks out the show-stopping (in a good way) “Pick Up The Pieces”, and the show-stopping (in a bad way) “Work To Do”.
While there is something perversely gratifying about watching Ringo man the skins for Billy Squier’s “The Stroke”, (or for that matter watching Billy Squier soloing on Men At Work’s “Down Under”) it’s not enough to carry your attention for a whole evening. There are several moments, despite constant reminders from everyone involved that they are all living the dream, that even most of the band seemed bored.
The tedium is broken up with a mini-set from Ringo that includes “Act Naturally”, a rockin’ “Yellow Submarine”, and recent single “Liverpool 8”. Ringo introduces the latter as autobiographical, but its self-referential lyrics feel contrived and ham-fisted. The same argument can probably be made against his George Harrison tribute “Never Without You”, but in this case, the words feel more sincere.
Ringo scatters in a few more tracks – “Photograph”, “Choose Love”, “Oh My My” and “I Wanna Be Your Man”, before not leaving the stage and announcing that we’ve reached the encore.
The night ends, as you’d expect, with the band playing “With A Little Help from My Friends”. An extended coda of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” is a nice touch.
Overall, Ringo looks great, and is as charming as ever. His songs, good or bad, are fun. The quality of his shows these days, I imagine, come down to the quality of the company he keeps. In this instance, one leaves the show wishing that Ringo had gotten by with a little less help from his friends.