Ringo, All-Starr Band (June 22, 1992)

By David Hadju
Radio City Music Hall, June 20
NEW YORK -- Every boomer boy's study-hall daydream, Ringo Starr's career is "Wayne's World" come to life. There he is, really goofy-looking and lacking any notable musical ability, on his latest world tour. All his closest pals are there -- Todd Rundgren, Joe Walsh, Dave Edmunds, Nils Lofgren and more. And cheering him on from the side of the stage is his gorgeous Playboy centerfold wife, Barbara Bach.

An enduring symbol of the great possibilities and outright weirdness of the universe, Ringo strikes a resonant chord with his audience. Of course, metaphoric chords are the only notes he hits.

Endearingly off-pitch, as always, Ringo croaks a few of his hits ("Yellow Submarine," "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Photograph," "The No No Song"), but leaves most of the showing the masterful hands of his genuinely all-star All-Starr band. Outside of those big one-shot benefits, which are generally unarranged and under-rehearsed, you'll never get to hear so many gifted rock artists play together as a band.

Ringo's second All-Starr configuration, this edition has more of a pop orientation than its predecessor (which featured the jazzy Dr. John and members of the Band). Rundgren and Burton Cummings (of the Guess Who) contribute heavily to the fun quotient, Rundgren admittedly striving to "get really stupid" with his bouncy "I Don't Want To Work" and mock metal anthem "Black Mariah." [sic] The unexpected pleasure of the show, Cummings showed that his old hits "No Time Left For You" and "These Eyes" hold up as still-compelling pieces of music as well as pop nostalgia.

Balancing the show with a weightier sound, Welsh neo-rockabilly guitarist Dave Edmunds kicked out his hits "I Hear You Knocking" and "Girls Talk." as well as a surprise treat: a solo electric-guitar instrumental version of the Beatles' "Lady Madonna."

It was precisely that kind of quirky selection that demonstrates the spontaneous, just-jammin' charm of this All-Starr tour. In the same spirit, Rundgren crooned Marvin Gaye's soulful prayer of protest, "What's Goin' On," accompanied only by his own acoustic guitar.

Most surprising of all, the two new tunes Ringo performed from his new album, "Weight of the World" and "Don't Go Where the Road Don't Go," came off as viable future classics. And, as and fiftysomething rocker can tell you, that don't come easy.

Other members of the All-Starr band include bassist Timothy B. Schmit of Poco and the Eagles, and Ringo's son, drummer Zack Starkey, who carried the band for most of this show with all the taste and sparkle of his dad in 1968, which is arguably the highest complement you can give a rock drummer.

Copyright © 1992
The Hollywood Reporter
Used with permission