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Review: Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band/ Empire

The Beatle is forgiven before he even hits the snare, says Larry Neild

Written by . Published on June 20th 2011.

Review: Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band/ Empire

IT was Liverpool's biggest ever kiss-and-make up. Ringo Starr told an almost packed Empire Theatre how much he loved Liverpool (three times) and the audience showed the feeling was mutual

The ex-Beatle drummer briskly walked on stage and before he opened his mouth there was a standing ovation, and a forest of Ringo salutes from the auditorium.

He is not one of the best
singers in the world. As
John Lennon might have said,
Ringo probably isn't even the
best singer from the Dingle

The ex-Beatle got the message, it was all peace and love. He was worshipped and the unmentionable (that Jonathan Ross interview in 2008) was history.

People forking out sixty quid a ticket knew they would not be listening to one of the best singers in the world. As John Lennon might have said, Ringo probably isn't even the best singer from the Dingle

But he can entertain. He has earned his stripes in pop music, so much so he doesn't even need to sign autographs any more. Well he wouldn’t anyway.

The jack-in-the-box body movements were there, and that distinctive Ringo-style of drumming, so familiar almost half a century ago when he joined John, Paul and George.

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With his All Starr Band, Ringo brought to Liverpool an amazing collection of performers unlikely to pass this way ever again.  The combined ages of the seven-piece band must be over 400 years, but there wasn't even a hint of a replacement hip judging by the energy on stage.

Gary Wright of New Jersey, born 1943, Mr Mister's Richard Page, born 1953, Edgar Winter, born 1946, Wally Palmer (The Romantics), drummer Greg Bissonette, born in 1959 and Rick Derringer (Hang On Sloopy) of the McCoys, born 1947 – all of them from the US.

Each performed set pieces in frenzy of entertaining heavy rock and jazz.

“Great to be back – I love Liverpool” shouted the Clown Prince of Liverpool 8.

“I'm from the Dingle, but if I was being chased it was from Toxteth,” he teased, the audience lapping up every word.

“I used to sing this with another group I used to play with,” laughed Ringo as he lunged into I Wanna Be Your Man.

“This is another I used to do with a group I used to be in,” he laughed even louder – this time he was referring to his pre-Beatle days with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Then came Boys.

Sprinkled among the audience were a fair number of Ringo's relatives and friends.

Introducing one of his own numbers from his album Why Not, Ringo said his Aunt Ev – sat in the front stalls – would understand the words of The Other Side of Liverpool – as she was there at the time to witness life in the Dingle in post-War Liverpool.

It was as though Ringo wanted to tell the audience he has never forgotten the hard times of his boyhood Liverpool. Aunt Ev nodded knowingly as Ringo sang his musical autobiography .

“It's been brilliant, tremendous and a fantastic night,” said Ringo's cousin Lynn Kean who had sat alongside Aunt Ev.

Aunt Ev, in her nineties, was jigging along as the audience were on their feet to sing Yellow Submarine.

At the stage door a crowd of fans and hungry autograph hunters (as if) waited for Ringo to emerge,

“He's gone – he came out surrounded by six men, jumped into a car and off he went,” said one.

At the age of 71 who knows whether he will ever pass this way again. Nevertheless, for those who had paid top dollar to see him it remained a five Starr night.


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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Charlie 1June 20th 2011.

i thought the quote from lennon related to his drumming skills? ' not even the best drummer in the beatles'

AnonymousJune 20th 2011.

I still don't like him.

AnonymousJune 20th 2011.

I'm sure when the Beatles changed the world way back in the 1960s they never imagined one day they would become world icons. So we can't blame Ringo for the fact he was part of the most famous band ever. I can blame Liverpool though for not being even arsed to milk this for all it is worth. When all the Ringo-haters and the anti-Beatle brigade are not even specs of dust, they'll still be worshipping the Beatles, including Ringo.

AnonymousJune 20th 2011.

I was at the show and it was brilliant. I hope this isn't the last time we see Ringo in his home town. They say behind the face of a happy clown there is always some sadness. Ringo's own song about his life growing up was most poignant and moving. Yes he went from rags to riches, but it's obvious he has never forgotten his roots.
Just look at the lyrics, they are a story and a half.
The other side of Liverpool is cold and damp.
Only way out of there - drums, guitar and amp.
The other side of Liverpool, where I came from;
My mother was a barmaid,
At the age of three my father was gone.

And Dave, if you're listening, well, you know what I mean.
It was you and Brian Briscoe
Got me through my early teens.

The other side of Liverpool, you just had to laugh,
We had to go to Steble Street just to take a bath.

The other side of Liverpool, we used to play for free.
They'd give us lukewarm beer
To keep us sweet; Eddie, Roy and me,

And Roy, if you're listening, thanks for all you've done.
It was you and me on the factory floor
When rock n'roll had just begun.

(The other side, the other side)
The other side of Liverpool!
You know it's true.

Paul McCloskeyJune 20th 2011.

I travelled from Ireland with my brother to Liverpool to see this concert.....it was very entertaining....very funny.....emotional.....great line up of superb session musicians....with enviable energy.....Ringo is still the cheeky chap from the early Beatles...thanks Ringo (and my brother John) for a class evening.

Philip CoppellJune 21st 2011.

It really was a great concert, Ringo and his All Starr Band were very, very entertaining, if you did not enjoy it, you weren't there, didn't some-one say something similar about the sixties?
Just for the record John Lennon never made that remark about the best drummer in The Beatles.

AnonymousJune 21st 2011.

John Lennon did not say that about Ringo, but for sure he would have done had he thought on. I'm guessing this was a play on Lennon's famous remark when asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world and he responded by saying Ringo wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles. Nice review that captured the lovely tone of the evening and the event.

Don SmithJune 23rd 2011.

Fantastic show ,great band,and ringo held his own as a spokesman and front man for the band

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