What’s my name? The former Beatle called out to the crowd at Irving Plaza followed by a resounding R-I-N-G-O, and “Do you feel better now?” With a wink and a nod the band laced into “I’m The Greatest “from his 1973 album Ringo. Written by John Lennon, the tongue in cheek ode to fame and fortune was delivered in coyish reverence by a grinning Starr, like a boy caught with his hands in the cookie jar of an insider joke.
Ringo And The Roundheads played an inspired, in-your-face set turning Irving into a sweaty club of the devoted as the band pumped out songs from the Starr catalog as well as some Beatles chestnuts into a night of Karaoke rock sing along. Ringo played the charming goofy uncle telling stories between songs in his self effacing, cosmic wit as he traded places center stage and behind the drums into an endearing night of playful rock.
Producer extraordinaire Mark Hudson (Aerosmith, Ozzy, Hanson, and Ringo’s latest Choose Love) played band maestro in a rainbow- colored goatee to Starr’s court jester ripping through the familiar “Boys,” “Act Naturally,” “Yellow Submarine” and the live rare one from Abbey Road “Octopus’s Garden.” Ringo introduced “Don’t Pass Me By” from the White Album as the first song he’d written on piano as he tinkled the Ivory keys and delivered the deadpan lyrics in a straight-faced baritone.
The Roundheads were a bouncy, crusty alternative to Ringo’s Touring All Stars of boring, bloated one hit wonders. Delightfully misfitted, they added comic relief and a gritty edge to Starr’s set allowing time for some underplayed gems from The Beatles’ and Starr’s solo career.
“Never Without You,” Ringo’s homage to the dearly departed George Harrison was a sentimental trip down Penny Lane with its loving references to the “quiet one’s” songs. On “Back Of Boogaloo” things got funky as Ringo took to the drums and pounded out the T-Rex influenced syncopations to guitarist Hudson’s choppy strumming.
The new one “Choose Love” had him flashing peace signs as he swayed from side to side as wife/actress Barbara Bach beamed from the balcony overlooking the stage.
For the closer, Ringo And The Roundheads were joined by Little Steven and Max Weinberg from the E Street Band leaving everyone high “With A Little Help From My Friends.”