RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND Empire Theatre, Liverpool
by Billy J. Shears
Ringo Starr live at the Empire Theatre - Photo:Eddie M
It Don't Come Easy (Ringo), Honey Don't (Ringo), Choose Love (Ringo), Hang On Sloopy (Rick Derringer), Free Ride (Edgar Winter), Talking In Your Sleep (Wally Palmar), I Wanna Be Your Man (Ringo), Dream Weaver (Gary Wright), Kyrie (Richard Page), The Other Side Of Liverpool (Ringo), Yellow Submarine (Ringo), Frankenstein (Edgar Winter), Peace Dream (Ringo), Back Off Boogaloo (Ringo), What I Like About You (Wally Palmar), Rock N Roll Hootchie Koo (Rick Derringer), Boys (Ringo), My Love Is Alive (Gary Wright), Broken Wings (Richard Page), Photograph (Ringo). Act Naturally (Ringo), With a Little Help From My Friends (Ringo)
A lot had been said regarding the reaction Ringo Starr would receive if he returned to his hometown after his comment on the Jonathan Ross Show in January 2008 That didn't stop Ringo including Liverpool on the itinerary of his latest European Tour, his first since 1998, but would the people of Liverpool welcome back one of their favourite sons? When he last performed at the Empire Theatre during his ‘European Tour’ in 1992 his All Starr Band included amongst others Eagles Joe Walsh & Timothy B Schmit, Nils Lofgren. Dave Edmunds, Todd Rundgren & son Zak Starkey. Although, with all due respect to the band this was a less 'Starry' line up comprising of Ringo - drums, vocals, Wally Palmar - guitar, harmonica, vocals, Rick Derringer - guitar, vocals, Edgar Winter - keyboards, saxophone, vocals, Gary Wright - keyboards, vocals, Richard Page - bass, vocals, Gregg Bissonette - rums, vocals, they did however receive excellent live reviews for their performances during their 2010 tour of the U.S.A. and I for one being of a certain age was looking forward to seeing them.
But tonight was always going to be about Ringo, he is after all a Beatle and there's no bigger 'Starr' than any of the Fab Four. He was in great form pronouncing that he loved Liverpool three times during the night and enjoyed 1-2-1 exchanges with the crowd. One accusation was that it would be Beatles fans from outside of Liverpool that had bought tickets and there wouldn't be any 'scousers' in the audience, well I'm sorry to disappoint but the loudest cheer of the night was when Ringo asked if there was anybody in from Liverpool.
Anyway on to the music! He ran onto the stage to a rousing standing ovation and slayed the crowd with an opening salvo of 'It Don't Come Easy', 'Honey Don't' and 'Choose Love'. Each song received a standing ovation, Ringo was back in Liverpool and we loved him!
Hightlights from the All Starrs included a brilliant version of the McCoys 'Hang on Sloopy' by Rick Derringer, storming performances of 'Free Ride & Frankenstein by Edgar Winter, Dreamweaver by Gary Wright, Talking in Your Sleep by Wally Palmer and 'voice of the night' Mr Mister's Richard Page performing their hits Kyrie & the classic 'Broken Wiings'.
But back to the Starr of the show, Ringo.It was great to hear two tracks from Y Not 'The Other Side of Liverpool' and 'Peace Dream' while solo hit singles Back off Boogaloo & Photograph were particular highlights. There was bound to be disappointments, the set lacked favourites You're Sixteen & Octopus's Garden but the crowd were treated to Beatles favourites Yellow Submarine, Act Naturally plus 'I Wanna Be Your Man' & Boys with Ringo seated at his drum kit.
The set ended with his signature tune 'With a Little Help from My Friends and a brief reprise of John's Give Peace A Chance before Ringo disappeared into the night as the All Starr's took a bow. So Ringo returned to Liverpool and the people responded by welcoming back one of their favourite sons to the fold.
Let's hope it isn't another 13 years before he returns to Liverpool!