October 11, 2014
Review by Elaine McAfee Bender
The Starr's At Night, Are Big And Bright.... Deep In The Heart Of Texas!
Ringo Starr - drums and vocals. Formerly with The Beatles.
Steve Lukather - lead and rhythm guitar, vocals. Formerly with Toto.
Todd Rundgren - lead and rhythm guitar, vocals. Formerly with The Nazz, Utopia, and solo artist.
Gregg Rolie - organ, keyboards, vocals. Formerly with Santana and Journey.
Richard Page - bass guitar, vocals. Formerly with Mr. Mister.
Gregg Bissonette - drums. Formerly with the David Lee Roth's band, toured with Toto.
Warren Ham - vocals, saxophone, percussion, keyboards. Formerly with Bloodrock, toured with Kansas, Donna Summers, and Olivia Newton-John.
What do you call an evening of music performed by a former Beatle and some of the best rock musicians of the 70's and 80's, jam packed on one stage? Easy answer...Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band! While Ringo is clearly the bandleader, this approximately 2-hour show was fairly equally split between his songs and those of the band members. Unlike his famous former band-mate, Paul McCartney, who does only his own material with a backup band, Ringo is clearly in his element, singing his own songs and then drumming to hits of Toto, Santana, Todd Rundgren, and Mr. Mister. It is an arrangement which appears to work beautifully for Ringo. The quality of sound is way better than one would expect in a "jamming with my friends" type of situation. All songs were obviously well rehearsed, professionally delivered, and absolutely outstanding!
Let me preface this review with the comment that I am a huge Beatles fan, who attended 3 of their historical live concerts in 1964 and 1965. I wasn't sure what to expect last night, having seen Ringo a couple of times post-Beatles, when I enjoyed only the odd song or two. Saturday's show more than made up for that past disappointment, exceeded my expectations, and left the audience wanting more. Beatles fans will be happy to know that Ringo looks fit and trim, and his vocals on "Matchbox," "It Don't Come Easy," "Act Naturally," "Honey Don't," and Photograph" sound ever bit as good as they did on the original recordings. Not too shabby for a rock musician well into his 70's!
Ringo chatted with the audience, allowed fans to come up to the stage to hand him gifts and notes, and frequently sent his "Peace and Love" messages out to the listeners. Fans shouting, "We love you, Ringo!" were once scolded with, "I'm talking now... Can you please be quiet! Of course, I mean that in a peace and love kind of way!" Mid-show, as the band prepared to play "Yellow Submarine," Ringo teased, "If you don't know this song, you are obviously in the wrong venue!"
Highlights also included Toto hits "Hold The Line," "Roseanna" and "Africa"; Santana's "Oye Como Va," "Black Magic Woman," and "Evil Ways;" Mr. Mister's "Kyrie" and "Broken Wings;" as well as Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light," "Bang on the Drums All Day," and "Love is the Answer." Warren Ham, Richard Page, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie, and Todd Rundgren are all outstanding vocalists whose solo parts and harmonies were near perfection! Richard's Page's bass was consistently great, while Todd Rundgren and Steve Lukather traded off lead guitar sections on different songs. Gregg Bissonette's drumming was excellent, and varied depending on whether he was the solo drummer or second drummer alongside Ringo who stuck pretty much with the basic drumming style, leaving the more energetic work to Gregg. Newest member, Warren Ham, an old high school friend of mine from Fort Worth, is a perfect fit with his saxophone and amazingly strong vocals. Warren also played the congas and a little keyboard, and is a true multi-instrumentalist. Gregg Rolie is another Texan (Austin) who told a story of playing at Woodstock with Santana.
Ringo sang a couple of numbers from his "Ringo 2012" album: "Wings" and "Anthem." "I Wanna Be Your Man" was introduced by "Here's one for all the ladies in the audience." The biggest laugh was "Next, is the greatest song ever written. I sang it with that other band I was in... Roy and the Hurricanes. Oh, and the Beatles, too" before launching into "Boys." Personally, I would have replaced "Don't Pass Me By" with "Octopus's Garden" or "You're Sixteen."
The finale of the show was "A Little Help From My Friends," a sing along and fitting ending to a nostalgic evening of musicianship at its finest. Yes, it was the Ringo Starr show, but it would not have been the same without the help of his friends, the All Starr Band.