(featuring Ringo Starr, John Waite, Sheila E., Paul Carrack, Mark Rivera and Colin Hay)

August 13, 2003
Chastain Park Amphitheatre - Atlanta


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I’ve seen Ringo a few times before, and I’ve got to say that his winning personality can make anything fun. The line-up for the current outfit was lacking in any legendary figures (Other years have featured John Entwistle, Greg Lake, Peter Frampton, Dave Edmunds, Joe Walsh and the like.) and wasn’t really able to generate the same heat that can usually be found at All-Starr shows.

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Men At Work front man Colin Hay is a great songwriter, but as resident guitar hero for the night, there was certainly something missing. Remember, he didn’t even play lead in his own band! Of all of the non-Ringo performers in the line-up, Hay’s material went over the best. “Overkill” is still a great song and of course “Who Can It Be Now” and “Down Under” had ‘em up dancing in the aisles.

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The same can’t be said for the bassist. As great a singer as he is, John Waite has no business playing bass in a band of this stature. He dropped lines in “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Boys” while Hay tried to coax him back into place. Waite’s song choices were also lackluster. “Isn’t It Time” was his best tonight, but “Missing You” just brought down the energy level and a re-worked, slower version of his Bad English hit “When I See You Smile” was worse. Obviously, it couldn’t stand up next to songs like “Yellow Submarine” or even “You’re Sixteen” which both had the crowd singing along at full voice. At least if Waite had dug out some rockers like “Change” or “Head First” he could have brought some much needed muscle to the show.

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Keyboardist Paul Carrack fared somewhat better. His Ace hit “How Long” was strong and “Tempted” was easily a show highlight. It was his reading of the Mike & The Mechanics hit “The Living Years” that got the best response of the night. Personally, I just thought it was depressing and would’ve preferred him to do “Silent Running” or even “All We Need Is A Miracle,” but the lighters and slow dancing proved that he was pleasing the majority. The only band member that could compete with Ringo tonight was Sheila E. She only did two songs, “Love Bazaar” and “The Glamorous Life,” but on both, she upped the ante and delivered powerful, energetic performances that each time led Ringo to declare, “and now I have to follow that.” Ringo pulled it off of course.

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“Photograph” and “The No No Song” were cheesy fun, but the biggest surprise came when he sat behind a keyboard to lead the band through the never played before this tour “Don’t Pass Me By” from The White Album. Only about half of the audience even seemed to recognize it, but the ones who did really appreciated it. If only we could get “Octopus’s Garden” on a set list, we’d be truly satisfied. Following a tough performance of one of his best recent songs, “Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go,” he delivered the familiar closing benediction of “With A Little Help From My Friends.” Arms waved, voices united and everybody smiled. With a wave of a peace sign, the show ended with the audience still singing to themselves.

Chris McKay / concertshots.com

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