Skip to content

Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band At Radio City Music Hall, Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, Reviewed

what would you do if I took a picture out of focus?

what would you do if I took a picture out of focus?

Going to a Ringo Starr show is like visiting Grandparents when they have the neighbors over. Same pleasures, same pains. Starr is so central to the popular music firmaments, so part of the life experience, you just want to be around him for a while, hear the same songs, throw the same peace signs, look with a sense of wonder as he slaps his drum and bobs his head in time to the beat, the same as it ever was. Instead the neigbours keep on butting into your Grandpa time.

Ringo performed 12 songs, four made famous with his second band, the Beatles, one he used to play with his first band Rory Storm And The Hurricanes, three rockabilly numbers, four solo. I think so highly of Ringo, I’ve always considered him one of the most underestimated drummers around, and a natural for rockabilly, I thoroughly enjoyed the lot. All his Carl Perkins covers, even now, even last night where both an opening straight forward “Matchbox” and a mid concert “Honey Don’t” were highlights, are excellent. Focused, unforced, the slightly out of tune vocals like a beloved amateur who really isn’t one. It is what Sentimental Journey should have been. And the rest of his songs, even the two off the dreaded Ringo 2012, were fair enough.

But like I said, even if they weren’t, he is our Grandfather and now he is nearly 74 years old, we are happy to be in his company. The songs are fast clipped, charming, a little overplayed here and there though what do you expect from a stage filled with session musicians, but I enjoyed it. I figure he played for maybe 30 minutes, maybe 40 tops. The other 80 minutes were interminable versions of terrible prog rock hits from the early 80s. How bad is Toto? Toto is so BAD Bob Lefsetz compared them favorable to the Eagles. Mr. Mister? A Santana sideman? And they stretched out every song from here to eternity. The version of “Oye Como Va” made you feel as though you were sitting at Captain Stubing’s table for dinner when Julie asks if you want to dance to the Cruise house band –in felt like faked buoyancy.

The All Starr Band conceit, stars in their own right tour with Ringo, get maybe four turns in the spotlight, might make more sense if you had musicians more in tune with Starr himself. In 2000 I saw Dave Edmunds play with the All Starrs, that made perfect sense. In 2014 who the hell wants AOR prog rock slogs through “Africa” and “Rosanna”. I know nothing about Toto guitarist Steve Lukather , well I know one thing, the Afro has to go, but he may be the nicest guy in the world. But he is too strenuous a soloist, a torched earth dreariness trying to breathe life into still born Santana songs, and he is so completely at odds with Starr’s smart rock and roll plus glam rock aesthetic, it’s like he has wandered in from another concert. Richard Page has two Mr. Mister hits, they both suck, and then he has a solo song I don’t know. And Greg Rolie used to play keyboards with Santana and Journey and he is borderline terrible. Put them together with overlong, terrible jams and the only thing worth doing is taking a snooze. They are interfering in Starr’s moment. Get the fuck out of the spotlight.

Todd Rundgren, as huge a Beatle fan as you will ever find, is a different matter. An early set “I Saw The Light” was a little too loud, but “Bang The Drum” was a lot of fun and the Utopia cover a revelation. Also, he was goofy and fun, very energetic and very into it.

Indeed, to give credit, the entire band were far from on autopilot, they were giving every song every thing they had. But what they had was awful and there was way way too much of it. When you read the setlist you think, oh OK, two killer Ringo, a new Ringo, Todd, a bit of a snooze and then Ringo again. But when you are there, you have to sit through excruciating versions of “Evil Ways”, “Rosanna” and “Kyrie”. It is deadly. The band play nice together, the comradeship belies rumors that the tour is no longer a fun place to be. All three of the larger All Starrs here are generous to each other and Starr is cordial and warm (my buddy Mike Long mentioned “A dangerous game to play at Ringo shows is to take a drink of beer every time Ringo flashes the “Peace” sign”) but, with the exception of Todd, they are all wrong for the evening.

Ringo could get Dave Edmunds to band lead a rockabilly revival tour or he could play his entire Ringo album. Ringo could follow Brian’s lead and get his own Wondermints type backing band. Hell, the Fab Faux could give Ringo all kinds of stuff. Why not?

Or rather why? Why tether 1980s AOR middle-America rock ordinaire to Ringo; a man who has a complete grasp of every aspect of 1950s – 1970s rock. The man WHO MADE A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT MARC BOLAN.

There are so many memories of Ringo, I remember the video of Starr and wife Barbara Bach pushing their way through the throngs at the Dakota the day after Lennon was murdered. The shock and sorrow on his face, he seemed to be a stand in for all of us.

Ah, hell, it’s Ringo, let him do whatever he wants.

Grade: C

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

US Top Ten Singles Tracking 9-23-22 – 9-29-22

By Iman Lababedi | October 4, 2022 |

at the top of the singles charts and at the top of the movie box office

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1978 (Volume 10, Number 6) 

By Steve Crawford | October 4, 2022 |

I’m not taking the band QUITE as seriously as I once did

Rocky Kramer’s Rock & Roll Tuesdays Presents “Rocktober” On Tuesday October 4th, 2022 7 PM PT on Twitch

By admin | October 3, 2022 |

Rocky Kramer will be hosting “Rocktober” on this week’s episode of Rocky Kramer’s Rock & Roll Tuesdays on Twitch. Tune into Twitch on Tuesday, October 4th, at 7 PM PT for this amazing show. Rocky Kramer is a guitar virtuoso, often being compared to the greatest guitar players in the world. Rocky has performed on…

Stories of SURRENDER — The Book Tour With, Yes, Bono

By admin | October 3, 2022 |

“In these shows I’ve got some stories to sing, and some songs to tell…”

Best Of 2022: Albums by Artist In Alphabetical Order Through September 30th

By Iman Lababedi | October 3, 2022 |

heavy metal all killa

US Top Ten Albums Tracking 9-23-22 – 9-29-22

By Iman Lababedi | October 3, 2022 |

a scary 87K EAUs

Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Release 10-7-22 – 10-13-22

By Iman Lababedi | October 3, 2022 |

don’t let her father distract you

Kevin Morby At The Belasco Theatre, Saturday October 1st 2022

By Alyson Camus | October 3, 2022 |

his sonic landscape largely exceeds his simple roots in folk

The globally streamed 6 hour concert presented by Fenix360 and WOWtv for the “Let Me Help Foundation” (a 501c3 charity) for “Children of the World”, Saturday, October 1st, 2022, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 2, 2022 |

between the needs of charity, the needs of empathy

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1978 (Volume 10, Number 5) 

By Steve Crawford | October 2, 2022 |

pretty heavy drama

Scroll To Top