As many of us are, I have been an avid music fan from an early age. I can still remember when I was about 7 or 8 years old, dropping the needle of my carry around record player onto my vinyl record of the Beatles’ Please Please Me. Of course I became ALL of the Beatles, air-guitaring and singing I Saw Her Standing There, Love me Do, and all the songs, including Boys. That was Ringo’s first time that his lead vocals were recorded and pressed. And of course, at that young age, I also wore out the vinyl (and my needle) on Yellow Submarine.
Well, I will tell you, I was in awe that last night I actually saw him sing it live, only rows in front of me. One of the last remaining Beatles right there, live. Those of you true music fans can truly acknowledge the importance of that. One of the Fab Four, in person. And close.
I owe a great thanks to the Peace Center for bringing the amazing show of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band to Greenville. One of the VERY few shows on his tour that came anywhere near here. Chalk up another win for the Peace Center.
What was so great about this show for me is that along with Ringo, I got to experience music from some of my other favorite bands of my youth, that grew my music appreciation, and is still timelessly listened to frequently today. But not only was it played live—and incredibly performed—but played by the original band members who made the music in the first place.
Born in 1966, it was the early seventies before I was old enough to appreciate great music. My seventies was of course filled with The Beatles. Whose wasn’t? Then there was early Santana, whose lineup at the time provided probably one of the best performances at the original Woodstock. The seventies also introduced me to Todd Rundgren, who is still a huge favorite of mine today. Then moving from the late seventies into the early eighties, I got caught on Toto. The eighties had it’s burgeoning genre of music, that included some great hits by so many new bands, including the band Mr. Mister.
There I was, just a number of rows back from the stage, pretty much dead center, watching a musical lineup that was aptly named “The All-Starr Band”…
Of course there was Ringo, both out front and seated high behind his drum kit, playing with smiles all night long. He graced us with his hits from both Beatles and solo years, including Boys, Don’t Pass me By, It Don’t Come Easy, Photograph, Honey Don’t, I Wanna Be your Man, Act Naturally and more. And between songs, he was the fun, joking, laughing, Liverpudlian boy we remember from the 60s.
Then there was Todd Rundgren on vocals and guitar. One of my highlights for being there. Todd in concert is always a bundle of energy and fun, as he led the lighthearted antics for this band. He also led the band through hits of his like I Saw the Light, Love Is The Answer (one of my personal fav’s), and Bang the Drum.
Taking lead guitar and some vocals was Toto’s front man Steve Lukather. If you haven’t listened to Toto other than their biggest hits, you’ve missed out on an incredible guitar player. He smoked lead guitar through the entire night, even capturing the spirit of Carlos Santana on a few. Steve led the band through some well-known Toto hits like Rosanna, Africa, and my fav, Hold the Line.
Powering through the Hammond B3 organ and other keyboards, along with some amazing vocals was keyboardist Gregg Rolie—one of Santana’s original lead vocalists and keyboard player, as well as Journey keyboardist. I loved hearing the classic Hammond B3 as Gregg led the band through Santana classics Evil Ways, Black Magic Woman and Oyé Como Va. Nope, no Journey. Sorry.
I was taken right back to the eighties when I heard Richard Page—lead vocalist and bass player from Mr. Mister—sing Kyrie and Broken Wings. And most amazing was that he sounded every bit as good as he did back then.
Keeping the drum foundation through the night—both with and without Ringo— was Gregg Bissonette, best known as drummer for David Lee Roth, and also for playing behind Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, Larry Carlton, and even Spinal Tap! Smiling as much as Ringo—mostly by the egging on of Todd Rundgren who played right in front of him.
And rounding out the band on amazing backing vocals, keyboards, sax and percussion was Warren Ham from Bloodrock and AD. You might be most unknowingly familiar with him for those same roles behind Cher, Bread, Kansas, Toto and Donna Summer.
And it was no surprise, but an amazing treat nonetheless, to have the band finish the show with probably one of the most loved songs Ringo sings, With A Little Help From My Friends. At the end Jam, Ringo bowed, blew kisses, flashed peace signs with his fingers as he did all night, and ran off stage. What made the ending—even with no encore—even more memorable was when the band immediately broke right into John Lennon’s Give Peace A Chance. Ringo ran back out, bowed and “peaced” the crowd, and left, with the band finishing and doing the same right after.
I’ve listened to my many Ringo Starr All-Starr Band recordings plenty of times, but seeing it live was an extra special treat. If you were there in the sold out crowd, you know what I mean. If not, go grab some of the recordings he has out from previous All-Starr Band tours. You won’t be disappointed.
God Bless you Ringo. Rock on!