In music, there are few bands who have had the impact, and influence, equal to The Beatles. Whether it be the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney, or the guitar of George Harrison, many rockers of the 60’s and 70’s have cited The Beatles as their musical influence. Rarer still are those in any industry who can go by one name; Ringo can claim both. Like McCartney, Ringo shows no signs of slowing down.
The weather held, so it was a clear, if humid, night for Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band to perform for a nearly sold out Starlight Theater, in Kansas City. Being Labor Day, many people were back home, having a BBQ, and spending time with friends, enjoying a day off from work. “We are the laborers today!” quipped Ringo, after plowing through the first three songs of their set.
Ringo then handed the reigns over to the first of the “All Starrs,” and 10cc singer and bassist took over vocal duties, introducing Dreadlock Holiday with “This song was a hit everywhere, except the United States.”
Though the band bear’s Ringo’s name, he really isn’t much more than a band leader, with members of Toto, Men at Work, 10cc, and Santana sharing lead vocal duties. Though Ringo is known for his drumming, session heavyweight, Gregg Bissonette, took on drumming duties for the show, though Ringo had his own set, and played along most of the time, when he wasn’t singing.
All members of the band truly are “Starrs,” but special distinction must be given to guitarist Steve Lukather, and brass/woodwind player, Warren Ham. Both members of Toto, who are in the midst of their own tour, though on an off-month. Rather than taking time to rest up for the next leg, these two jumped in, feet first, into another grueling touring schedule, playing several Toto hits, and sharing vocal duties on the way.
Seeing an ensemble of performers like this is an incredible experience. It is true that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but Ringo has managed to put together a powerhouse of a supergroup. All members were given their chance to shine, and play their songs, with everyone else filling in enthusiastically. And none were more enthusiastic than the crowd. The ages of the audience members were as diverse and varied as the music being played. From the elderly, who undoubtedly watched The Beatles first performance on Ed Sullivan, to children under 10, dancing in the aisles. Ringo even drew special attention to a young girl waving a yellow submarine around to the song of the same name.
Through a mix of hits from Santana, Toto, The Beatles, and more, there was a little bit of something for everyone. And Ringo spoke of peace, and love, without turning political, something all too easy to do these days. It was just warm, happy feelings from beginning to end. There are few better ways to spend a warm summer night, than sitting outside, listening to music, as the sun sets. Carrying on a regular, heavy touring schedule is no easy feat. There are those who might wonder how Ringo does it. His answer is there in the last song of the set for all to hear, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” We’re just fortunate enough to be along for the ride.
Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin
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