Ringo Starr and the 2012 All Star Band – Ringo at the Ryman DVD


Review by Paul H Birch

Guitar shredders everywhere: you need this DVD like you would not believe! From the get-go Steve Lukather is in there playing away with feeling and flair on every song, and with some absolutely excellent close-up camera work it’s a joy to watch the dextrous versatility of both his right and left hand at work. (Watch a clip here)

As with each annual incarnation of Mr Starkey’s All Star Band he gathers a group of established musicians who each get to play their party piece, or big hit record that the predominantly mainstream audiences who attend his shows knows, and for the man himself to play his own hits alongside Beatles numbers. Safe as houses then? Possibly, but they’re more than just a superior covers band plus the funny guy who sat at the drum kit in the most important band in the world.

I think even Ringo had admitted he was no great singer before a lot of us were even born but  when they launch into his hit singles from the 70s like ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ you’re justifiably reminded that they remain creatively diverse, charismatic and that it’s him holding the tune down.  His rapport with the Ryman theatre’s audience is old school musical hall, done with self-depreciating humour at times though there’s no reason to be – and as the DVD testifies as the camera pans across sideways showing him playing drums alongside Gregg Bissonette he can still hold his own. Starr is the master of understated timing: he knows when and where to put himself to make things work and he seems to know how to do that to get the best out of others too.

Keyboard player Gregg Rolie gets to revisit his Santana days, adding flavour throughout the set; Todd Rundgren strains to hit some of the higher notes of his youth but makes it on soulful emotion, being a strong stage presence, and adding second guitar; Mark Rivera plays a sharp sax and has a fine voice, but vocally the night’s star is Richard Page and while his Mr. Mister singles appealed most to my better-half I was most impressed by the country flavoured ‘You Are Mine’ where Lukather dips in and out with some inspired beautiful guitar work.

When they start singing ‘Happy birthday’ it’s not The Beatles’ number as expected but to celebrate Ringo’s 72nd one, and you get why this occasion is so special. His brother-in-law gets to give Lukather a run for his money on ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ and turns up again with Richard Marx and assorted Nashiville singers as the party comes to its conclusion. The merging of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ with Lennon’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’ becomes profound and as this whole show has proved, the 60s dream didn’t end, it just got lost, and turns up wearing a different hat now and then. “Peace and love” indeed… Visually entertaining, musically adept; get this and forget the world’s woes for a brief while.

9 out of 10

Ringo at Ryman DVDTrack listing:

  1. Open/Matchbox – Ringo Starr
  2. It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr
  3. Wings – Ringo Starr
  4. I Saw The Light – Todd Rundgren
  5. Evil Ways – Gregg Rolie
  6. Rosanna – Steve Lukather
  7. Kyrie Eleison – Richard Page
  8. Don’t Pass Me By – Ringo Starr
  9. Bang The Drum All Day – Todd Rundgren
  10. Boys – Ringo Starr
  11. Yellow Submarine – Ringo Starr
  12. Black Magic Woman – Gregg Rolie
  13. Band Intro / Happy Birthday
  14. Anthem – Ringo Starr
  15. I’m The Greatest – Ringo Starr
  16. Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh
  17. You Are Mine – Richard Page
  18. Africa – Steve Lukather
  19. Everybody’s Everything – Gregg Rolie
  20. I Wanna Be Your Man – Ringo Starr
  21. Love Is The Answer – Todd Rundgren
  22. Broken Wings – Richard Page
  23. Hold The Line – Steve Lukather
  24. Photograph – Ringo Starr
  25. Act Naturally – Ringo Starr
  26. With A Little Help From My Friends / Give Peace A Chance