Appellate Judge James A. Stewart is the greatest.
"Are you ready to rock?"
The answer to that question, at a Ringo Starr concert, is obvious. The former Beatle knows how to work a crowd, and the crowd doesn't need much working. Just listen to the shouts from the balcony or watch the waving and clapping as Ringo and his band do "Yellow Submarine" or "With a Little Help from my Friends," and you'll want to join them. You may not be able to join them in person, but you can in spirit with Ringo Starr and the Roundheads: Live.
The 56-minute concert was shot for PBS at Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois, with fourteen numbers:
• "It Don't Come Easy"
When Ringo sings "I'm only thirty-two, and all I want to do is boogaloo" in "I'm the Greatest," you'll believe him. The song's lyrics sound neither egotistical nor ironic in Ringo's hands, but more like a party anthem for a veteran performer who's still got the energy of those early days in Liverpool and Hamburg. When he performs the first song he wrote, "Don't Pass Me By," it might even have more energy than it did in the old days. The emphasis in this concert is on getting the crowd fired up and having fun, with little reflection or introspection.
While even high-def cameras and Dolby Digital Surround can't fully bring home a crowd's energy, they do a reasonable facsimile, with clear lyrics and instrumentals, and very little flaring or bleeding.
Other than a song list, there are no extras here. Outtakes or interviews would have been welcome.
While fans will enjoy it, it feels like a Ringo Starr concert rather than the definitive concert; Ringo's style of working the crowd suggests a lot of variation from show to show. It's good stuff, but you'll wish for more, and it's more likely just to whet your appetite for seeing Ringo in person. I checked his site; his last tour was in 2008, and nothing's scheduled.
Not guilty, but now that he's gotten everybody rocking, Ringo should get out there and tour in 2010.
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