sun 14/07/2024

Ringo Starr, Hampton Court Palace | reviews, news & interviews

Ringo Starr, Hampton Court Palace

Ringo Starr, Hampton Court Palace

The former Beatle brings his supergroup and super songs to the UK

Yasser Arafat and Michael J Fox - sorry, Ringo Starr and Rick Derringer on stage last nightSamir Hussein/Getty

Sir Paul McCartney recently suggested that Ringo Starr missed out on a knighthood because the Queen was too busy dealing with Bruce Forsyth. At least Ringo got to go to the Palace though. Albeit the one in Hampton Court, where last night, as if by magic, a torrential downpour stopped just as he stepped on stage.

At one point during the day it looked as if a Yellow Submarine would be needed to get this critic home. In the end my purple Volkswagen sufficed.

Starr certainly looked in fine fettle. The trim, neat, black-clad 70-year-old has outlived his doppelgänger Yasser Arafat as well as two ex-mop tops. He seemed in a good mood as he opened with "It Don't Come Easy" and "Honey Don't", the latter an old Carl Perkins number recorded by The Beatles. His voice was not at its most powerful, but there was a lovely rock'n'roll groove going on. It was not great art, but his All Starr Band made it sound tight in the right places and loose in the right places, like the world's best pub band.

The evening was easily at its best when Starr simply rolled out a mixture of much-loved solo pop hits and Fab Four favourites that he sang on. John Lennon mean-spiritedly once said that "I Wanna Be Your Man" was a throwaway, which is why he gave it to The Rolling Stones and Ringo (so was "Love Me Do" Stravinsky?) but it sounded pretty good. Certainly compared to Starr's solo outings four decades on, "Choose Love", with its melodic echoes of "Taxman", and his rose-tinted take on Lennon's "Imagine", "Peace Dream".

It was no surprise that his backing band could carry a tune. They certainly had a pedigree, boasting, among others, Spooky Tooth’s Gary Wright, who played piano with George Harrison, veteran axeman Rick Derringer and albino multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter on keyboards, saxophone and general noodling. Yet his band was both a strength and a weakness. Great musicians, but with a tendency to irritate when delving into their own archives.

This stylistically eclectic approach was fine when Derringer did "Hang on Sloopy", recorded by his band The McCoys. Or even when bassist Richard Page dusted off his 1985 Mister Mister power ballad, "Broken Wings". The problem came when the songs were less in keeping with the no-frills mood of the night. Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” was too wistful, Winter went prog-rock nuts on "Frankenstein", while Derringer fired out a horrendously indulgent guitar solo that vividly recalled the moment in Back to the Future where Michael J Fox invents rock'n'roll and within minutes is doing a tedious Van Halen riff. Ringo, who divided his time between drums and the mic, sensibly left the stage at this point.

He has probably been doing the same gags since decimalisation, but they still raised a laugh

His legendary Liverpool wit was not entirely absent, but it was a little on the well-worn side when addressing adoring fans – "No, you're the best... I'm the greatest." Before hurtling into another vintage oldie, "Boys", he explained that he had previously sang the song with "that other band I used to be in... Rory Storm and The Hurricanes". He has probably been doing the same sort of self-mocking gags since decimalisation, but they still raised a laugh.


Starr was much more comfortable when singing from behind the drums. At the front of the stage he was slightly gawky, swaying about rather than playing the cocksure rock icon. Luckily he had a hatful of hits at his disposal that were so iconic they needed little effort to get the audience on their feet and singing along. As the show reached its climax, he hit his stride during a run of classics, including "Photograph", "Act Naturally" and "With a Little Help From My Friends". There was no encore, just a quickly inserted closing refrain of "Give Peace a Chance". No knighthood then, but a pretty fab night.

Watch Ringo Starr perform "It Don't Come Easy"


His band was a strength and a weakness. Great, but with a tendency to irritate when delving into their own archives


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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The McCoys’ “Hang On Sloopy” was first recorded by R&B group the Vibrations as “My Girl Sloopy.” The McCoys were discovered by the Strangeloves (“I Want Candy”), three producers from Brooklyn who rode the British Invasion wave by pretending they were sheepherders from Australia. More on this garage band classic, including Sloopy’s identity, on Rockaeology at

No knighthood? Why not, he deserves one. Ringo's been rockin' ever since I've been around. As one of the two remaining members of the Beatles, a knighthood would be great.

Entirely too critical of iconic performers and recordings. It's like you didn't even get the whole point of Edgar Winter, or Gary Wright. Perhaps this reporter is too young to have the respect for these period pieces and understand their place in the moment of rock culture. We've gone to every US tour Ringo has had of his All-Starr band, and were disappointed to see his plan to have a EU tour this summer. It's been a mainstay of our summer plans. Why ?Because it's just a fun party-concert atmosphere in Boston. You got him intstead of us this year, and don't seem to know just how lucky you were. Perhaps we're a better audience, too ? You even made a back door slam at a Van Halen-like riff . VH last tour was one of the best concerts ever. BTW: We'll see just how hip _you_ are at 70 !

"Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” was too wistful, Winter went prog-rock nuts on "Frankenstein", while Derringer fired out a horrendously indulgent guitar solo that vividly recalled the moment in Back to the Future where Michael J Fox invents rock and roll and within minutes is doing a tedious Van Halen riff. " TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE REPORTER

Don't worry A the audience appreciated your old rockers too, and Ringo was obviously really enjoying the music. It was great to see him looking and sounding so good.

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