Ringo Starr Tour 2003 marks the third recent Ringo tour DVD. Ringo's various All-Starr tours are always very entertaining and feature unique line-ups of talented performers. The 2003 line-up was no exception and offers up many classic songs performed by the original singers. Highlights include Ringo's usual hits (this time adding lively renditions of "Don't Pass Me By," "Honey Don't," and "Memphis on Your Mind") and other standouts like Colin Hay's "Land Down Under" and "Who Can It Be Now?" Paul Carrack's "How Long?" and "The Living Years," and John Waite's "When I See You Smile."
However, although the vocal talents of this particular All-Starr group (John Waite, Colin Hay, Sheila E., Mark Rivera, Paul Carrack) are very impressive on all the songs, it was not quite as strong musically as some of Ringo's other groupings. Some of these same songs are featured on Ringo's 2001 release ("Ringo and his New All-Starr Band") and quite frankly are performed better there with a higher energy level (particularly when comparing Waite's rudimentary bass playing on the funky Sheila E. numbers like "Glamorous Life" with ELP's Greg Lake's stand-out earlier work on the 2001 DVD or with the work of other former All-Starr bassists such as the Who's John Entwistle or Cream's Jack Bruce.) Colin Hay's lead guitar work also could have used a supplement from the stellar line-up of guitarists (Peter Frampton, Nils Lofgren, Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren, Randy Bachman, Mark Farner) from other Ringo tours featured on "The Best of the All-Starr Band So Far" DVD.
To be fair, the filmed concert on the new DVD was the FIRST of the band's entire tour, meaning the group hadn't really jelled as it would after weeks of touring. On most songs the performances are top rate nonetheless. As the DVD reveals, Sheila E. was also nursing an unfortunate knee injury that particular evening (yet still amazes as a drummer, singer, and the ultimate gamer) which may have affected the band's carefree chemistry on that night only--especially during her physically challenging solo numbers.
The photography of the concert itself is quite well done. The interspersed documentary footage is wonderfully entertaining due to the upbeat personalities of the talented musicians but also interrupts the flow of the concert songs. Unfortunately there is not a "play songs only" mode to play the just the concert. In addition, unlike Ringo's other DVD's, there is no DTS sound option (only 5.1 surround). Although Ringo seems more fun to hang around with than Paul McCartney on his "Back in the US" disk (no offense to Sir Paul--Ringo is just a classic lovable guy with a stellar sense of humor), some might prefer just watching the concert's momentum unfold as on the tour. In addition, some standout songs (Hay's "Overkill," Carrack's "Tempted") performed on the tour have been left off the disk. Even the tour's emotional highpoint, a moving tribute to George Harrison, is left out of the regular documentary and is shown only in an added bonus rehearsal version.
Overall, I would recommend this disk for Ringo completists and fans of the individual 2003 All-Starrs. However, I would recommend Ringo's other DVDs if you are shopping for your first Ringo disk or prefer your concerts uninterrupted by documentary footage.