RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND
(featuring Ringo Starr, John Waite, Sheila E., Paul Carrack, Mark Rivera and Colin Hay)
August 13, 2003
Chastain Park Amphitheatre - Atlanta
Ive seen Ringo a few times before, and Ive 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 wasnt really able to generate the same heat that can usually be found at All-Starr shows.
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 didnt even play lead in his own band! Of all of the non-Ringo performers in the line-up, Hays 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.
The same cant 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 Dont Come Easy and Boys while Hay tried to coax him back into place. Waites song choices were also lackluster. Isnt 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 couldnt stand up next to songs like Yellow Submarine or even Youre 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.
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 wouldve 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.
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 Dont 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 Octopuss Garden on a set list, wed be truly satisfied. Following a tough performance of one of his best recent songs, Dont Go Where The Road Dont 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