Posted on 8/5/2012
On Saturday July 7th, Ringo Starr turned 72 years of age. He spent the evening of his birthday working in Nashville, TN at the historic Ryman Auditorium as he performed with his All Starr Band to a Sold-Out crowd. On this tour, the band consisted of Todd Rundgren on guitar, Richard Page (Mister Mister) on bass, Steve Lukather (Toto) on lead guitar, Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey) on Hammond B-3 Organ and Keyboards, Mark Rivera (Billy Joel) on saxophone, keyboards, and percussion, and touring drummer Greg Bissonette. Enjoy Mike Arnold’s concert review blog as he steps through the night’s set list.
Written by Mike Arnold
The packed Ryman Auditorium was filled with a mixture of young and older fans of The Beatles, Ringo Starr, and various members of Ringo’s All Starr Band. There were many Nashville songwriters, musicians, and music stars. In fact sitting behind me was Richard Marx and his wife Cynthia Rhoads, songwriter/performer Rodney Crowell, and other music industry notables. We all had something in common, we were fans of historic music!
As the lights dimmed, members of the All Starr Band slowly walked out to take their place on stage to start the opening number of the night. Once the groove began and the crowd was getting into the intro of the first song, out ran Ringo Starr holding up his two fingers in a peace sign fashion. The crowd jumped to their feet in appreciation as Ringo belted out the classic song, “Matchbox”. At the end of the song, Ringo joked with the audience, “Thank you, Thank you! Alright, alright, hard to me to believe, Ringo At The Ryman!” He continued the show with a crowd favorite, “It Don’t Come Easy”. Ringo Starr mentioned he has “Big News!” He told us about his new album called “Ringo 2012” before performing a track from the album called “Wings”.
It was time for Ringo to leave the front of the stage and go to his drum kit. As he positioned himself behind the kit, the crowd screamed their approval. Ringo mentioned, “Everybody on stage is great! Ready to have fun? We are going to start off with Todd Rundgren!” Todd Rundgren stepped up to the mic to ask, “Can You Feel It!” before starting one of his tunes, “I Saw The Light”.
Todd introduced the keyboardist of the night, former Santana and Journey singer/keyboardist, Gregg Rolie. Gregg waved to the audience and said, “Here’s one we played at Woodstock when I was with Santana.” As they began the classic hit, “Evil Ways”.
Gregg Rolie said, “I’m gonna pass this off to my partner in crime, Steve Lukather!” Steve said, “Great Memories in Nashville!” The crowd cheered in agreement as Steve continued, “Best summer vacation I ever had in my life (being on tour with Ringo Starr).” While pointing at Ringo, Steve added, “The reason I play guitar in the first place!” Steve started the first of many Toto songs we heard that night, “Rosanna”. I was wondering how they were going to pull off the Toto songs with Steve Lukather on vocals, but Steve sang only the low parts and his band mates joined in for the high vocal parts. Bassist Richard Page (from Mister Mister) and saxophonist/percussion/keyboardist Mark Rivera (from Billy Joel’s band) handled the high vocals with perfection.
Steve Lukather introduced Richard Page of the 80′s band Mister Mister for the next number. The barefooted Richard said, “It’s great to play with the legendary drummer who was kind enough to have me back for the 2nd time (tour).” Richard’s first lead performance was the Mister Mister hit, “Kyrie”. His vocal ability is still top notch!
Ringo Starr yelled, “I’m over here now!” as he stepped behind the keyboard that Mark Rivera played from time to time. Ringo mentioned that this was the first song he ever wrote, “Don’t Pass Me By”. Todd Rundgren played the harmonica during portions of the song, while Ringo played the keyboard during the first verse before walking down the steps to the main section of the stage to complete the remainder of the song.
The road crew setup a small drum kit with two Tom Toms in the center of the stage while Todd Rundgren led the band and the audience in the sing-along, “Bang On My Drum All Day”. The small drum kit was removed and Ringo Starr took center stage again. Ringo said, “Here’s a song I played with my old band.” Everyone screamed with excitement before Ringo added, “That’s right, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes! But I also played it with the other band you are thinking of. Here’s one called ‘Boys’”. Ringo stayed front and center and instructed everyone to sing along on this song and insisted that everyone knows it, as he continued the show with the classic Beatles tune, “Yellow Submarine”.
Ringo then introduced Gregg Rolie and left the stage. This is the first and only time that he actually left the stage during his performance. He always played drums during the other songs that he didn’t sing, but I suppose it was time for the 72 year old to take a break. Gregg Rolie led the band into another Santana crowd favorite, “Black Magic Woman”. Steve Lukather shined with his guitar leads that would definitely make Carlos Santana proud.
Ringo Starr returned to the stage and asked the crowd, “What’s The Name?” and we all responded with, “RINGO!” This was repeated about three times before Ringo introduced another song from his “Ringo 2012” as he said, “This is our anthem, Peace and Love.” As they performed the song, “Anthem”. Ringo continued his show by saying, “Here’s one that John Lennon wrote for me.” As the band peformed a song called “I Am The Greatest”.
Ringo told us we were about to get a big surprise. He said, “He’s a great friend and he’s the best!” as Joe Walsh took the stage with guitar in hand waving to the crowd as we jumped to their feet with loud cheers! Once Joe plugged in and got situated, he performed one of his classics, “Rocky Mountain Way”. During the song Joe not only played lead guitar, but he used the guitar voice box, and played slide guitar. Joe Walsh left the stage after this song as he waved to the audience. The fans in attendance loved this unexpected performance.
It was time once again for the All Starr Band members to take turns performing the tunes they were a part of writing and/or recording. Richard Page started the session by thanking Ringo for allowing him to introduce a new song on this tour, as he performed a song called “You Are Mine”. Steve Lukather was next in line and he told us it was time for a party song as drummers Ringo Starr and Greg Bissonette provided the intro beat to please the crowd with the Toto hit, “Africa”. Gregg Rolie continued with the rockin’ Santana song, “Everybody Everything”. Ringo stepped in next to interrupt the band’s rotation and told us the next one was for the ladies, as he led the band with the Beatles song, “I Wanna Be Your Man”. Todd Rundgren came next with a Utopia love song, which showed his vocal ability, called “Love Is The Answer”. Richard Page was back to lead the band again to perform another Mister Mister hit and a crowd favorite, “Broken Wings”. Mark Rivera started the next song with his incredible sax playing as Steve Lukather led the band with another Toto hit, “Hold The Line”. Ringo followed saying, “Love That Song! Love That Man! Love This Band!” and those in attendance agreed with the yells and applause.
Ringo Starr took over the lead again and continued by saying he would like to take a “Photograph” as they performed his hit. Ringo put on a cowboy hat and mentioned that Buck Owens did this song as they performed “Act Naturally”. The band continued with many artists joining on stage to sing backup, Vince Gill, Kix Brooks, Brad Paisley, Richard Marks, Joe Walsh, and others as Ringo led the audience in singing “With A Little Help From My Friends”. At the end of the song Ringo said, “Thank You! Thank You! Peace and Love!” then left the stage. With the audience screaming for more as the band closes out the song, Ringo returned to the stage performing jumping jacks as if he was in his twenties. The band kicked in again as Ringo led the crowd in a few choruses of “Give Peace A Chance” before leaving the stage for the final time.
Of course I loved this concert. I’m sure every person in the attendance did. There were smiles on everyone’s face and I could hear different groups of people talking about how much they enjoyed various portions of the show. I would have done a few things different on the set list. I would have removed the new song that Richard Page performed, “You Are Mine”, the song Ringo sang, “I Am The Greatest”, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia song, “Love Is The Answer” (only because these were not recognized hit songs) and added, “Octopus’s Garden”, “Back Off Boogaloo”, and “No No Song”. Other than that the concert was fabulous and I would always attend a Ringo Starr concert if I had a chance. On the Concert Blast Scale I will give Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band a 9.7 (out of 10).
Written by Mike Arnold
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Tags: AEG Live, All Starr Band, Brad Paisley, concert blast, concertblast, Cynthia Rhoads, Greg Bissonette, Gregg Rolie, Kix Brooks, Mark Rivera, Mike Arnold, Nashville, Richard Marx, Richard Page, Ringo Starr in concert, Ryman Auditorium, Steve Lukather, The Beatles, The Messina Group, TN, Todd Rundgren, Vince Gill