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Concert review - Ringo Starr at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Yes, yes, of course it was terribly 'cabaret' at times, but what were you expecting, for goodness sake? This is Ringo.

Concert review - Ringo Starr at Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band, Birmingham

Symphony Hall,

Concert review by Phil Gillam

Yes, yes, of course it was terribly 'cabaret' at times, but what were you expecting, for goodness sake? This is Ringo.

Now, you might say there are two types of performer in popular music: the artist (such as Bob Dylan) and the entertainer (such as Engelbert Humperdink). Ringo has never professed to be an artist, but he's never stopped being an entertainer. And entertain is what he did supremely well last night.

"If you don't know this next song, you're in the wrong venue," he told the crowd as he launched, into Yellow Submarine.

Surrounded by top-notch, if ancient, musicians – all of whom were major players in their time – Ringo, a sprightly 70 years old, gave us energetic renditions of Honey Don't, Back Off Boogaloo, Photograph, and of course With A Little Help From My Friends.

Starr has suffered down the years at the hands of critics. But it turns out the mop-top caricatures of John the thinker, Paul the romantic, George the mystic and Ringo the clown were pretty accurate after all.

Last night he proved he was still the clown, still the master entertainer, and still, a much better drummer than many give him credit for. Ringo . . . you're fab.

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