Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Night of "All-Starrs" featuring Ringo

Ringo & The All Starr Band - photo by John V
Ringo Starr brought the latest edition of his All Starr Band to the Oakdale Theatre this past Saturday. The former Beatle & his friends rocked the house with a crowd-pleasing set of classic songs. Things kicked off with the Carl Perkins number “Matchbox” and for the next two hours, we were treated to Beatles classics, solo tunes & a slew of hits from the catalogs of Ringo’s famous band mates. The current version of the group features Gregg Rolie (Journey/Santana,) Todd Rundgren, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Steve Lukather (Toto) and ace sidemen Warren Ham & Greg Bissonnette. The guys were having a blast playing with Ringo, and their joy & enthusiasm was infectious. Rundgren was like the Energizer Bunny of the group, careening around the stage, jamming with everyone, and cracking up Ringo & the band with his good humor.

The evening was full of memorable songs, including a gritty “Black Magic Woman,” Rundgren’s passionate take on “Love Is The Answer,” and Lukather’s outstanding version of “Africa.” Of course, there were also Ringo’s charming & effervescent performances of Beatles classics such as “Yellow Submarine,” “Don’t Pass Me By,” and “I Wanna Be Your Man.” But it’s also fun to see him sit back and play drums while Page sings Mr. Mister’s hit “Kyrie,” or Lukather rips thru the Toto classic “Hold The Line.”  Ringo was clearly having as much fun playing with the band (and acting as their ringmaster; pun intended) as they were playing with him. The show’s energy & pace never flagged, and the audience (comprised of several generations of rock fans) was dancing, singing along and having a wonderful time. The affection & positive feelings that fans have for Ringo (and the other artists who tour with him) are as plain as the smiles on their faces during the show.

Each version of this group has had its pleasures & surprises. I’ve seen the fantastic Mr. Rundgren perform with Ringo previously & as a solo artist & I've also seen Rolie perform live before. But it was my first time seeing Lukather & Page, and they were both impressive. Lukather’s guitar work was incredible & his Toto songs got some of the warmest responses of the night. Page’s vocals on the Mr. Mister numbers he did were excellent, and he contributed some fine bass work. Rolie (a founding member of both Santana & Journey) was also outstanding. The “All Starr Band” concept works very well; it looks & sounds as fresh as it did when Ringo started these tours back in 1989. You get to see a group of well known rockers perform their best known tunes, led by a bona fide Beatle singing songs that several generations have come to know & love. It really is a can’t miss proposition for concertgoers.

By the time we got to the end of the show, and Ringo was leading us all in a joyous sing-along on “With a Little Help From My Friends,” you could tell the audience wouldn't have minded if the the show had gone on for another two hours. It truly was a splendid evening of music & fun, and everyone had a wonderful time. If you get the chance to see Ringo & The All-Starrs on the road this summer, I heartily recommend it. Here are links to the Ringo & the band performing “Don’t Pass Me By,” ‪, “I Saw The Light,” ‪, “Evil Ways,” ‪, “Hold The Line,” ‪ and “Kyrie,” ‪ These videos are from the 2012 tour, featuring almost the same lineup that performed Saturday at the Oakdale.

Matchbox (Ringo)
It Don't Come Easy (Ringo)
Wings (Ringo)
I Saw the Light (Todd Rundgren)
Evil Ways (Gregg Rolie)
Rosanna (Steve Lukather)
Kyrie (Richard Page)
Bang The Drum All Day (Todd)
Boys (Ringo)
Don't Pass Me By (Ringo)
Yellow Submarine (Ringo)
Black Magic Woman (Gregg)
Honey Don't (Ringo)
Anthem (Ringo)
You Are Mine (Richard)
Africa (Steve)
Oye Como Va (Gregg)
Love Is The Answer (Todd)
I Wanna Be Your Man (Ringo)
Broken Wings (Richard)
Hold the Line (Steve)
Photograph (Ringo)
Act Naturally (Ringo)
With a Little Help From My Friends (Ringo)
Give Peace a Chance (Ringo)

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