By Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band
There's an episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa, insecure about being beaten to first place in a saxophone competion by a better player, has a dream about being in a band. They take the stage to the announcement 'Will you welcome Garfunkel, Messina, Oates, and Lisa singing their number two hit, Born to Runner-Up.' It's hard not to conjur this scene when watching Ringo at the Ryman, a concert filmed at Nashville's famous auditorium. The All Starr Band, here in it's twelfth incarnation and twenty third year, pull out all the stops to celebrate another milestone - the birthday of the Ringomaster of this very perculiar circus.
It's full marks for effort, and there's some spell binding moments for sure - Black Magic Woman and a cameo from Joe Walsh as he rips up Rocky Mountain Way are a joy to behold, lifting the energy of the room. But most of the time the surreal combination of 1970's rock, 1980's power ballads - Steve Lukather gives Africa an airing, Richard Page trots out Broken Wings - and a few of the naffer Beatles songs (sorry Ringo) make for a disjointed show. But if the audience are struggling to get into it, there's no signs that the band have noticed, and when the captain of the ship gets behind the kit for cuts like I Wanna Be Your Man and Boys, you understand why he's still performing at a spritely 72 years old.
It's undeniable that if the All Starr Band had a mission statement, it would be 'Keeping Ringo Busy Since '89'. But by the time With A Little Help From My Friends closes the show (with Give Peace A Chance tacked on in a nod to his old mate and the ideals of the decade they accidentally defined) you have to ask yourself - what's wrong with that?
Ringo At The Ryman is out now.