Ringo Starr blends solo, Beatles hits into wonderful show
By James Grant For The News-Sentinel
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Courtesy of Jama FederspielRingo Starr and his All-Starr Band played a sold-out show Tuesday night at Foellinger Theatre.
For the man who wrote and sang “It Don’t Come Easy,” Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band made it look almost effortless Tuesday night as they performed a fantastic show to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at Foellinger Theatre.
From the first notes of the opening number “Matchbox” (a Carl Perkins song he recorded and played with the Beatles), Ringo Starr seemed confident and at ease. His All-Starr Band was on fire as they played a tight set overflowing with crowd-pleasing songs.
Dressed in a glittery full-length black jacket, black jeans, dark sunglasses and sneakers, Starr quickly won the crowd over with his charm and laconic wit.
Playing in front of a backdrop appropriately filled with stars of all shapes and sizes, Starr took turns fronting the band belting out his solo hits as well as Beatles classics then heading to the drums throughout the night playing behind his amazing All-Starr Band who seemed to hit all the right notes.
“Peace and love everybody” Starr shouted to the crowd after the first song, “Ready to have some fun?”
As the crowd roared back its approval, the night seemed like a living jukebox of hits from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s played ever so skillfully by Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette, who comprise the All-Starr Band.
Starr’s solo hits included “You’re Sixteen,” “Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy” and “I’m the Greatest” (a track written by John Lennon from Starr’s best-selling album entitled “Ringo”), as well as Beatles classics such as “Yellow Submarine,” “What Goes On,” “Don’t Pass Me By” and the iconic “With a Little Help from My Friends.”
Added to the hit parade were terrific versions of Toto’s “Africa,” “Rosanna” and “Hold the Line,” Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings” and “Kyrie,” Santana’s “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen” and two of my favorites, Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light” and “Love is the Answer,” which were highlights of the show.
With a youthful figure belying his age, Starr seemed to genuinely love playing music with his current All-Starr Band configuration. The audience, obviously filled with quite a few Beatles fans, also seemed to be having a genuinely good time and roared with approval after almost every song.
Starr looked as comfortable and happy playing drums, supporting his bandmates, as being out front leading the band and singing his hits.
The skill and power of the All-Starr Band really helped push the show into overdrive Tuesday. It was amazing to see all these terrific performers onstage together.
Page, former lead singer of the group Mr. Mister, really was a standout Tuesday as his vocal work shined throughout the show. His voice was nearly flawless and sounded just as invigorating and fresh as it did in the ’80s when Mr. Mister was topping the charts.
One of the most majestic moments of the show happened just after 9 p.m. when Rundgren performed his song “Love is the Answer” as the sun began to set.
Rundgren’s plea for peace and understanding provided a nice juxtaposition to the religious and political protestors outside the Foellinger Theatre gates who tried to cast a pall on the show’s festive atmosphere.
The song was also a nice respite after the troubling national events of the past couple of weeks, and for me personally it was a superb performance.
The one thing many audience members, including myself, took away from the evening was a night filled with good music and good memories.
Brian and Jama Federspiel, a married couple from Fort Wayne, thoroughly enjoyed the evening and both had a wonderful time.
Though each is a casual fan of the Beatles music, they both were impressed by the musicianship on display and enjoyed the variety of performances.
“Each guy was like a mini-show; you didn’t know who to watch,” Jama Federspiel said of the All-Starr Band.
“And Ringo is adorable,” she added with a laugh.
“Incredible harmonies,” Brian Federspiel said of the singing throughout the show.
“The older I get, the more I like the Beatles,” he said of seeing Starr perform.
Doug Robinett of Waterloo was also at the show and though he, too, is a casual fan of all the performers, he marveled at how well the musicians performed.
“To see this many great acts at one concert is amazing,” he said of the show. “I loved it, definitely worth seeing.”
The only note that didn’t hit quite the right tone was the fact that Foellinger Theatre let so many people tailgate in the parking lot that it seemed like paying customers were forced to park further away in the overflow lot.
Despite some of these parking issues and the protesters, the night was a smashing success.
Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band not only performed well but gave a performance filled with heart and genuine good will, which set a joyous tone that was infectious.
All in all it was a wonderful night of music, and for Beatles fans it was certainly a pleasure to finally see a member of the legendary Beatles give an outstanding performance right in their own backyard.
This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel.
At 75, things are looking bright for Ringo Starr
By Roger Catlin
June 22, 2016
Ringo Starr poses on June 13, in New York. Starr is on a U.S. tour with his All-Starr band, which wraps on July 2 in Los Angeles. He turns 76 on July 7.
Photo: Scott Gries, INVL
Fifty years after the Beatles' final tour, on which they routinely played only 11 songs, it's possible to hear more than twice that many of the band's songs on summer tours by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
Starr was best known for his ace drumming, but he also sang on a handful of Beatles recordings, many of which he includes in his tour, including "Matchbox," "Boys," "Act Naturally," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "With a Little Help From My Friends" and one he wrote, "Don't Pass Me By."
Along with such solo hits as "It Don't Come Easy," "Photograph," "You're Sixteen" and "I'm the Greatest," Starr leaves time for signature songs from current All-Starr band: Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page and Gregg Bissonette. (Starr has been touring with variations of the All-Starrs since 1989.)
Starr, who turns 76 next month, touched on his decades off the road, his recent burst of songwriting, a couple of his pre-Beatles bands, disdain for drum solos and why he started putting his drum set on a platform.
He reminisced, too, about the Beatles' first U.S. concert 52 years ago at the old Washington Coliseum, which is being remade into an REI store.
Q: Are you ready to get out on the road for another tour?
A: I'm already on the road. ... It's fun. I know all these guys, we've been doing this together for four years, so we know all the songs, I'm switching in one - we're doing "What Goes On" - but otherwise it's the show we have been doing. So we're anxious to get out there and play.
Q: You must really get along with this particular group of All-Starrs.
A: This is the closest I've been with one of these bands. We get on. We have our ups and downs, but we really support each other onstage. That's really important. And we've been playing together so long, I really feel like I'm in the band. I really feel like we can go on together, but that's not the way we do this band. We switch it up. But I'm not looking to do that yet. We'll be touring this year in America, then in October, Hong Kong and Japan, and then next year again.
Q: As much as you enjoying touring now, it must have been hard not to be touring for 20 years after the Beatles stopped.
A: They were different days. I stopped touring in '66. I played individual gigs in the '70s and the '80s, but not a lot. I was never "on tour." Then in '89, I put the first All-Starrs together, and that's how it is.
Q: You were the most successful ex-Beatle on the charts, with a lot of Top 10 hits. You certainly could have toured in the '70s.
A: It was different then. I was doing the records, and if you look at the records, I had Dr. John and the Beatles on there, but they all had their own things going on. It's not like we could take this whole thing on the road. Like, we couldn't take "The Last Waltz" on tour, with all those people playing with the Band, though that's what interested me in putting together the All-Starr Band.
Q: I see you co-wrote all of the songs on your latest album, "Postcards From Paradise." Are you writing more than ever now?
A: I'm in the middle of the next album. The record is a totally different thing. Musicians come to the house, they're people I know, and we come up with things. I was in L.A. with Van Dyke Parks. He came over and I had a track, and we wrote a song around it. I just call people up.
Q: Do ideas for songs come more easily for you these days?
A: I don't know if it's ideas. I have more energy to do it. And I'll have more time this year. We're only touring June into July. I'll get my rocks off playing, then I'm taking the summer off, do some more on my record, then start touring again with this band. I love this band.
Q: You're acknowledged as one of the greatest rock drummers. Did you ever have any teachers?
A: Nobody taught me. That's what it was like in Liverpool - if you had instruments, you were in the band. The very first band I was in, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle band - Eddie worked in same factory as I did, and we got together and played. We all learned together. That was the beautiful thing.
Q: You're one of the few prominent drummers who has shied away from soloing.
A: No, it's never interested me, drum solos. I understand it, and it gives the drummer the personality to play. Like, John Bonham (of Led Zeppelin) had a great drum solo. But for me, it was never of any interest to do that. I want to play with the band. That's the drum part to me. I'm in the band.
So there's been a lot of great drummers out there. I think listening to, I want to say Motown, but, Jerry Lee Lewis was a big influence. His band was as well. I mean, Buddy Holly. I go back a bit, so the drummer was never really featured in any of those eras, and we got together, and all of a sudden it was "Ed Sullivan." So I started demanding high risers because I was tired of being on the floor in the back. So I'd be up 10 feet higher than the boys.
Q: Was there a sonic reason for being up on a riser?
A: I wanted them to see me! I wanted to be part of it. I was in the back. That's what it was about.
Q: Do you remember the first time you played Washington? It was the first U.S. concert for the Beatles at the old Coliseum.
A: It was. Everybody remembers, and I certainly remember the rostrum. I think it was a boxing ring, wasn't it? And their part of the stage, the center part, went around and then mine stopped. The rest of the band were going around, and I'm just stationary.
We laugh now because everybody has so many roadies and people looking after them. I jumped off the damn thing and started moving it myself. Now 20 people would run over and do it. It was pretty far out. But it was great: Live in America! I've said this a thousand times - no one will ever understand how amazing it was for the Beatles individually to come to America, the home of all the music we loved, and it was America.
Q: Tell me about your annual peace-and-love event.
A: On the 7th of July (Starr's birthday), wherever you are, just stand there, look at your neighbor - you can be at your desk, you can be on the bus, you can be in the office, you can be onstage - and you can just say, "Peace and love." And that's your birthday gift to me.
Q: Do you think a peace-and-love message is more needed during a divisive time?
A: I do. Not more. I think it's still needed. It's peace and love. All we need is more of it.
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) 21 de junio de 2016
Leaving Fort Wayne Indiana Great night Great audience thank you thank you peace and love 😎✌️🌟💖🎶✈️ pic.twitter.com/uDAv3ndO2p— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) 22 de junio de 2016
Thank you, Fort Wayne, what a great crowd you were..... Loads of fun ... definitely see you again soon...?!?!?