Ringo Starr

by Steven Skelley

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday October 27, 2014

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band is everything you'd want and expect from a rock-and-roll icon and his band of hand-selected all-stars of rock-and-roll history. If you are one of the lucky people to have caught a concert by one of the 12 variations of this eclectic band, you'll have stories to tell and memories to cherish of a special night with one of the most well-known musicians of popular music -- Ringo Starr.

Rolling Stone Magazine readers named the 74-year-old Starr, "the fifth-greatest drummer of all time." He's also a Member of the Order of the British Empire, an Academy Award winner, an Emmy nominated actor and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

I asked the couple seated next to me why they came to see Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band at the King Center. The husband looked at me and said, "I've loved this guy's music forever starting with the Beatles and I've waited 50 years to see him. We drove 50 miles to be here."

They are not alone. According to Forbes magazine, fans have flocked to 200 Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band shows in the past 15 years. Starr grosses about $300,000 per concert and about $6 million per year.

The audience at the King Center was a mix of every age, but the fifty-and-over crowd was definitely in the majority and they came ready to rock. They were not disappointed. The Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band concert was like having unlimited quarters and finding the best '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s jukebox ever.

The song set consisted of more than 20 of the best-of-the-best tunes by Ringo and his All-Starrs. Almost every artist took the spotlight for several tunes and supported his bandmates on all the others. The All-Starrs included Todd Rundgren on lead guitar and vocals; Gregg Rolie on keyboards and vocals; Steve Lukather on lead guitar; Richard Page on bass guitar and vocals; Gregg Bissonette on drums; and Warren Ham on saxophone.

At one point in the concert, Starr turned to the crowd and exclaimed, "I love this band. I love everybody in it. This is a great band!"

Not to be outdone, the ever unconventional Todd Rundgren added, "This is the longest act of musical lovemaking in history!"

Starr performed "Matchbox," "It Don't Come Easy," "Wings," "Boys," "Don't Pass Me By," "Photograph," "Act Naturally," "Anthem," "With a Little Help from My Friends," "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "Yellow Submarine."

When introducing "Yellow Submarine," Starr joked, "If you don't know this song, you are in the wrong place!"

Guitar magician Rundgren took the lead vocal for "I Saw the Light," "Bang the Drum All Day" and "Love Is the Answer."
As he sang and riffed on the guitar, Rudgren did every pose you expect a '70s rock star to do. The man is limber and obviously having a great time on stage.

Rolie brought strong vocals and rock-organ to his set of "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye como va." He had the audience on their feet as soon as he announced, "We played this at Woodstock. This is 'Evil Ways.'"

Bissonette got his chance to shine with a drum solo on Santana's "Black Magic Woman."

Lukather showed why he's won five Grammy Awards. He still has blazing fast fingers and his world-class lead guitar skills were showcased in his set of "Rosanna," "Africa" and "Hold the Line." Warren Ham added an extended sax solo to "Rosanna" and received a standing ovation.

Page's tenor vocals were just as crystal clear as they were 30 years ago as he sang "Kyrie," "You Are Mine" and "Broken Wings." He had the audience cheering as he segued into an effortless falsetto and then unbelievably jumped up another octave higher.

Throughout the concert, Starr made several joking references to "that other band" so it was fitting that the show ended with the audience on their feet joining Ringo & The All-Starrs for John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."
Ringo Starr is a rock-and-roll icon and the Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band concerts remind us why.

Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band appeared on Oct. 22 at the King Center for the Performing Arts at Brevard Community College, 3865 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32935. For info about the King Center or tickets, call 321-242-2219 or visit http://www.kingcenter.com

Steven Skelley is a published author of several nonfiction works and the novella The Gargoyle Scrolls. He has been a newspaper columnist, travel writer, news writer, music director, creative arts director, theater reviewer and tennis instructor.