Several light years ago I witnessed the second incarnation of Ringo Starr’s All Star Band in action in a Los Angeles TV studio.
It boasted an astonishing line-up of guitarists - Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren and Dave Edmunds. What did they do? They plonked their way perfunctorily through Yellow Submarine.. It was heartbreaking.
In other words I knew what to expect when Ringo, now on version eleven of his All Star band, pitched up at the BIC. The latest outfit includes such luminaries as Rick Derringer and Edgar Winter. There’s Wally Palmar from The Romantics, Gary “`Dreamweaver” Wright, bassman Richard Page from Mr Mister and drummer-of-choice to the A-list Gregg Bissonette. Between them they have several hundred years experience. More to the point they’re fine musicians and with the clown prince of The Beatles as their paymaster they can command a £65 ticket price without too much embarrassment.
Yet once again it was thump along with Ringo time. The (old) boys in the band chucked a few of their own hits into the stew - Hang On Sloopy, Talking in Your Sleep, Frankenstein etc. But the highlights were still Ringo being er well Ringo and singing, badly but inimitably, numbers like Honey Don’t, I Wanna Be Your Man, Boys, Act Naturally and of course With A Little help From My Friends and the aforementioned Yellow Submarine. Quite a nifty singalong version this time as it happens.
There was much flashing of peace signs and Ringo looked great, nothing like his 70 years. Though the audience response was luke-warm, towards the end of the show some bloke in the terrace yelled “I love you Ringo”.
The former Beatle didn’t miss a beat. He beamed delightedly and pointed towards the voice. “And I love you too,” he announced. As the inevitable laughter died away, he added: “I’d rather it had been a high girlie voice. But you’ll do.”
The fact is of course that we all love Ringo, and he knows it. It’s why he gets away with these awful concerts.