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WEA presents
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band: Tour 2003 (2003)

"He formed this band, and I say, 'Oh, what's the name of the band, Zak?' He says, 'The Dead Meat, Dad.' I said, 'Dead Meat? I think you're open for criticism there, son.'"
- Ringo Starr

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: October 06, 2004

Stars: Ringo Starr
Other Stars: John Waite, Colin Hay, Paul Carrack, Sheila E., Mark Rivera, Alice Cooper
Director: Brent Carpenter

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language)
Run Time: 01h:49m:39s
Release Date: September 21, 2004
UPC: 060349703260
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- A-A-A- C

DVD Review

Ringo Starr, continuing to recognize a good thing when he sees it as he did back in 1962, is still organizing all-star (or "All-Starr") bands and touring regularly with them. This disc melds a concert performance at the Casino Rama in Ontario, Canada with a good deal of backstage documentary-style footage.

This 2003 version of the All-Starr band includes John Waite of The Babys and Bad English; Colin Hay of Men At Work; Paul Carrack of Ace, Squeeze and Mike & the Mechanics; Sheila E of Prince and her successful solo career, and Mark Rivera, who is best known for playing with Billy Joel. These are not the huge megastar names that have populated past All-Starr Bands, but they're certainly all capable musicians and prominent figures from the 1980s music scene.

Ringo performs eight songs with the band, including most of his songs that he sang lead with The Beatles; his own solo career is represented only by It Don't Come Easy and Memphis in Your Mind. Waite, Hay, Carrack and Sheila E. each perform two of the songs that they had hits with over the years, sometimes with Ringo doubling on drums.

The songs of the guest stars are all done with interesting permutations on the familiar originals. Unfortunately, the Ringo songs are lacking in forward drive and have a somewhat lethargic quality to them. While he seems to be having fun, there's a vitality missing that was seen in some other performances on DVD. It doesn't help that the concert that's interspersed in the documentary footage is from one of the first (if not the very first) dates on the tour, so the band hasn't quite melded into a tight operation yet.

The documentary segments flow from beginning to the end of the tour, as they cross North America, with the performances giving a bit of an illusion that they're from different shows. This gets a little disorienting at times, such as when late in the tour Alice Cooper agrees to sing backup on With a Little Help From My Friends, but then cuts back to months before, and of course no Alice is in sight. That would have made for a good bonus track, if nothing else. The backstage material is only mildly interesting for the most part, though the segments of the band trying to learn Sheila E.'s Glamorous Life give an excellent sense of how difficult it is to assemble these shows. More such footage would certainly have been welcome.

The song list is as follows:

It Don't Come Easy
Honey Don't
Memphis in Your Mind
How Long
Down Under
When I See You Smile
Love Bizarre
I Wanna Be Your Man
Yellow Submarine
Living Years
Who Can It Be Now
Missing You
Glamorous Life
Don't Pass Me By
With a Little Help From My Friends

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame image is sharp and crisp for the most part, surprisingly so for a live performance. Black levels are good as are colors. Detail is quite pleasing overall. Some of the backstage material is poorly lit, but that's not a fault of the transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Both a 5.1 and 2.0 surround track are provided. There's not a huge amount of difference between the two, with prominent and pounding bass presence on both. Naturally there's more with the LFE track but the 2.0 track more than holds its own. The 5.1 track has very good directionality, with Rivera's sax very precisely placed on the soundstage. Applause is mixed at restrained levels, instead of being deafening as it is in most live concert DVDs. Another plus.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 39 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Japanese with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:52m:44s

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus song
  2. Photo gallery
  3. Discography
Extras Review: The bonus section of the disc contains some nice tidbits, the best of which is a rehearsal version of George Harrison's Here Comes the Sun, performed in Toronto by the band sans Ringo. A set of 25 photos accompanies three-screen bios of the band. Ringo appropriately gets a lengthier bio, and also a full discography of his solo career, with full track listings for every album. The menu arrangement is rather eccentric, with separate menus for the documentary segments and for the music segments, even though they're edited together. Alas, there's no way I've found to just play the concert segments straight through, short of programming your DVD player to do so. That would have been handy.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

A bit lackadaisical in execution, but plenty of classic tunes and an interesting glimpse backstage. No complaints about the transfer.


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