|Ringo Starr - The Best of and His All Starr Band So Far|
|Image Entertainment/Warner Vision .
R4 . COLOR . 94 mins .
PG . PAL
Seemingly the most “approachable” of The Beatles, Ringo Starr has often copped more than his fair share of flak as having been the least talented of THAT rather popular little quartet – possibly not helped by his being the one they threw the odd novelty song at to play singer upon during their time together. Regardless of such meanness, he still managed quite a successful solo career – always exhibiting a much more carefree approach to his craft than John, Paul or George – and actually came up with a few wonderfully crafted and classic songs of his own.
This DVD features introductions from Paul McCartney and Marge Simpson’s favourite Beatle himself, plus a number of songs taken from four different shows with four different “All Starr” bands from a period spanning 1989 to 1997. Ignoring the delightfully bad pun, when it’s advertised as “All Starr” it isn’t necessarily overstating matters, even if many of the folk assembled may have well and truly passed their use-by dates. At various stages a sheer cornucopia of ‘60s and ‘70s legends accompany Ringo on these musical exploits – Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive), Gary Brooker (Procol Harum), Jack Bruce (Cream), Tim Cappello, Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals), Clarence Clemmons, Burton Cummings (The Guess Who), Rick Danko (The Band), Dr John (with headgear even Elton John would baulk at wearing), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Farmer (Grand Funk Railroad), Peter Frampton (looking rather alarmingly like Billy Bob Thornton), Levon Helm (The Band), Jim Keltner (a session drummer who’s worked with basically everybody), Simon Kirke (Free), Nils Lofgren, Billy Preston, Todd Rundgren, Mark Rivera (a session muso who worked extensively with Billy Joel and Foreigner), Timothy B Schmidt (Poco and The Eagles (AGH!!!!)), Joe Walsh and his son, Zak Starkey.
As such Ringo shares the stage at times with enough musical folk to require suring up of the stage foundations prior to show time - often performing songs with as many as three drummers at once! They’re all tightly rehearsed, but in many ways it’s ultimately rather pointless when they’re all playing the same riffs. Perhaps wisely, rather than solely concentrating on Ringo’s rather debatably patchy solo career song-wise, added to selections from as much are tunes from The Beatles and classics from many of his band members. More specifically these are...
Don’t Go Where the Road Don’t Go
Rocky Mountain Way
The No-No Song
Bang the Drum All Day
I Wanna Be Your Man
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
It Don’t Come Easy
Sunshine of Your Love
A Whiter Shade of Pale
All Right Now
With a Little Help From My Friends
Ultimately rather patchy overall in both quality and performance, what is actually entitled Ringo Starr – With a Little Help From My Friends on the programme itself really is one for diehard fans of either The Beatles or the man himself, as sadly it just all sounds, well, rather tired.
Spanning almost ten years, and relying on a number of different video sources, typically vision quality varies throughout this presentation. The majority comes in full frame, with those tracks taken from the 1992 Montreux Jazz Festival appearance appearing in non-anamorphic 1.78:1. Being all video-based, grain is never an issue, however the image is genuinely rather soft, which does tend to affect detail somewhat throughout. As is common with concert presentations, colour tends to fight a bit of a losing battle against the rather bright lights, and the layer change – most always a nightmare to place within a concert context – naturally appears between songs, and is marginally annoying.
“Yay, DTS!” we hear people shout – but hang on to that couch for a moment. Yes, there’s a DTS mix here, and boy is it loud, however it tends to have rather a harsh edge to it, combined with an overabundance of bass. Those for whom bass makes the music will be in their own nirvana here, however it does tend to overshadow things at times – and there is very little to distinguish this mix from the Dolby Digital 5.1 version also included, which also exhibits similar, if not worse on occasions, traits. Whereas the best concert in the home experiences leave the music essentially frontal, using the surrounds for venue ambience, this mix tends to take great liberties at times, with vocals and instruments often popping out of the rears, lending a rather odd vibe to proceedings. Some may dig this approach; however it takes away a certain realism from proceedings that just as many will likely find confuddling. Curiously, after disregarding the notable volume difference, in the end the DD 2.0 mix tends to sound the most “natural”, even if it may seem quite the come down from utilising 5.1 or DTS capabilities. Regardless of such concerns, all mixes leave the vocals clear and easy to discern, and there are no issues with synching.
Extras? Well, there’s a music clip featuring an “alternate take” on Yellow Submarine, with the only sonic option being Dolby Digital stereo. Otherwise, well, the menu has an animated introduction.
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| And I quote...|
|"Marge Simpson’s favourite Beatle and friends get together and... ZZZzzz..."|
- Amy Flower
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