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words and photos by P Squared Photography
Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band @ Beacon Theatre - 6/17/14
If it's a hot sticky summer night, there is a good chance the peace and loving Beatle, Ringo Starr is bringing his always reliable All Starr Band to a theater somewhere in America. Last night (6/17), they landed in the shed called the Beacon Theater for the first of a two-night stand on their current tour. For those that have never seen any of the past incarnations of the All Starr Band, what you don't get are deep cuts from say Ringo's 1970 very good but underrated country album Beaucoups of Blues. Instead you get an evening of, as Ringo said last night, sitting back, relaxing, smiling and singing along to some tunes you probably know very well. To the predominantly older audience last night, this was just what they wanted. The current incarnation of the band featured as usual a number of well heeled musicians who made their biggest marks in the the '70s and '80s. and have been mainstays of past All Starr Bands. Steve Lukather, one of the most prolific session guitarists ever and most well known as being in the band Toto. Richard Page of the band Mr. Mister. Greg Rolie whose unmistakable keyboard playing you have heard from his time with Santana. Drummer Greg Bissonette, another prolific session drummer who most notably used to play with David Lee Roth. Finally, rounding out the band is the Wizard, Genius, True Star and Runt, Todd Rundgren.
It's easy to be cynical about Ringo's constant waving of the peace and love flag (almost every tune was followed by him throwing up peace signs). I along with the rest of the crowd, though, put that away for the evening and sang along to songs such as "Photograph" and "It Don't Come Easy" -- from his best solo album 1973's eponymous Ringo. Songs made famous by some of the other members which meant of course the Toto hit "Hold The Line," Mr. Mister's '80s hits "Kyrie" and "Broken Wings," Santana's "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va." Getting the most applause of the "other member" songs were Rundgren's "I Saw the Light" from 1972's still amazing Something/Anything record and "Bang the Drum All Day" which saw Todd front and center banging, what else but, a drum. Finally, of course, some tunes by that "other band" Mr Starr used to be in. There were the covers from back in the day, The Shirelles "Boys", Carl Perkins "Honey Don't", and from Help, "Act Naturally" which was first recorded by the Hee Haw man Buck Owens and his Buckaroos. Finally, some of Ringo's Beatle's classics such as "Don't Pass Me By" and the last song of the evening, wait for it...."With a Little Help from My Friends"
Nothing complicated or challenging or even mind blowing. Just a fun, enjoyable night of very skilled musicians playing songs we all know and love. Ringo does it again at Beacon tonight (6/18), which there are still a few tickets left for.
Since we are on the topic of a Beatle, we should mention the big news that came out this week. At least big for vinyl enthusiasts (myself included in that group..ack run for cover) or nerds, whichever side you are on. September 9 will see The Beatles in Mono vinyl reissue box finally released. Thankfully the prayers of faithful were answered and the records are being cut to lacquer using the original analogue master tapes. The entire process being AAA. WOW! This was unfortunately not done with the previous Stereo box which used digital masters and while sounding very good, this new box should sound absolutely fantastic and exactly what vinyl fans rave about. At 400 or so dollars the set is not a cheap one but hey, go try to find original UK mono versions and see what that runs ya. For more in-depth information about the box, check out vinyl expert Michael Fremer's Analog Planet site.
Now someone find me a clean Original UK stereo Abbey Road for a less than obscene price please!
More pictures and the setlist from Beacon Theatre below...
Matchbox (Carl Perkins cover)
It Don't Come Easy
I Saw the Light (Todd Rundgren cover) (performed by Todd Rundgren)
Evil Ways (Willie Bobo cover) (performed by Gregg Rolie)
Rosanna (Toto cover) (performed by Steve Lukather and Warren Ham)
Kyrie (Mr. Mister cover) (performed by Richard Page)
Bang the Drum All Day (Todd Rundgren cover) (performed by Todd Rundgren)
Boys (The Shirelles cover)
Don't Pass Me By (The Beatles cover)
Yellow Submarine (The Beatles cover)
Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen (Santana cover) (performed by Gregg Rolie)
Honey Don't (Carl Perkins cover)
You Are Mine (Richard Page cover) (performed by Richard Page)
Africa (Toto cover) (performed by Steve Lukather and Richard Page)
Oye como va (Tito Puente cover) (performed by Gregg Rolie)
Love Is the Answer (Utopia cover) (performed by Todd Rundgren)
I Wanna Be Your Man (The Beatles cover)
Broken Wings (Mr. Mister cover) (performed by Richard Page)
Hold the Line (Toto cover) (performed by Steve Lukather and Warren Ham)
Act Naturally (Buck Owens cover)
With a Little Help from My Friends (The Beatles cover) (inc. Give Peace A Chance)