Monday, July 14, 2014

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band rock Santa Barbara Bowl

Left To Right: Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie, Ringo Starr, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Bisonette, Richard Page, Warren Ham.
Photo credit: Rob Shanahan
Singer/songwriter/actor/artist/peacemaker/rock 'n' roll ringmaster Ringo Starr (who also happens to be the world's most famous drummer) continues to spread magic everywhere he goes. On Saturday, July 12, on a beautiful night at the Santa Barbara Bowl lit by a bright full white moon, Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band entertained a capacity crowd of more than 4,500 fans of all ages who came to see the former Beatle and his illustrious six-man troupe revisit the past while fully celebrating the here and now.
Ringo Starr in action in Santa Barbara.
Photo: Robert Kinsler

To say the fast-moving two-hour concert offered something for everyone is an understatement. Starr was the obvious draw, armed with a number of enduring Beatles tracks (the timeless version of Carl Perkins' "Matchbox," the rollicking "I Wanna Be Your Man" and animated sing-along "Yellow Submarine") and his wonderful solo gems (classics such as "Photograph" and "It Don't Come Easy" as well as more recent "Wings" and "Anthem" off his Ringo 2012 collection). But to see Starr step back to simply become just another member of the band was fantastic too. Indeed, he had the chance to drum, play tambourine and box drum in support of hits played by other members of his ensemble, including guitarist Steve Lukather (of Toto fame), singer-keyboardist Gregg Rolie (a founding member of Santana), singer-guitarist Todd Rundgren and singer-bassist Richard Page (of Mr. Mister). Keyboardist-multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham and drummer Gregg Bisonette were an essential part of the music making throughout the night too.
Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band on July 12.
Photo: Kim Kinsler

One of the obvious strengths about Starr and this version of his All Starr Band is how the cast of talented players could effortlessly move from playing freewheeling rock 'n' roll (such as they did with the opening version of the Carl Perkins classic "Matchbox" or the Lennon and McCartney-penned "I Wanna Be Your Man" later in the show) to more textured material like a beautiful version of the Toto classic "Africa" or an insanely loose "Bang the Drum All Day." The audience was all in, able to sing along when the moment demanded ("Yellow Submarine" is one of the best sing-along songs ever), or to sit and take in the musical virtuoso jams (notably on the three classic Santana songs featuring Gregg Rolie on vocals and Lukather impressing big time with his stellar guitar work). What's more, the audience actually listened and seemed to take in a beautiful new song ("You Are Mine") featuring Page on lead vocals and acoustic guitar (Starr played some effective percussion seated at a box drum nearby). 

Every fan, including yours truly, likely found the best performances of the night were favorite songs. I'm a huge fan of many of Starr's songs, and hearing him perform "It Don't Come Easy" is always a thrill. His song "Wings" is terrific and soared this night. Following that up was a lush version of Rundgren's lovely "I Saw The Light."

Later in the set, Starr reflected with his distinctive wit on his first original composition and went to the piano to lead off a spirited version of the White Album gem "Don't Pass Me By." The memorable night ended with a powerful "With a Little Help From My Friends" that had everyone on their feet; that emotional high led into a night-closing version of the John Lennon-penned Plastic Ono Band anthem "Give Peace a Chance."

For those who still have not caught Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band this summer, the good news is the tour continues through the end of October. Click here to see his upcoming tour dates, including a date at the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday night, July 19.

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band concert setlist at Santa Barbara Bowl (Saturday night, July 12, 2014) - all songs featured Ringo Starr unless otherwise indicated:
Matchbox (Carl Perkins cover) / It Don't Come Easy / Wings / I Saw The Light (featuring Todd Rundgren) / Evil Ways (featuring Gregg Rolie) / Rosanna (featuring Steve Lukather) / Kyrie (Mr. Mister cover featuring Richard Page) / Bang the Drum All Day (featuring Todd Rundgren) / Boys / Don't Pass Me By / Yellow Submarine / Black Magic Woman (Santana cut featuring Gregg Rolie) / Honey Don't (Carl Perkins cover) / Anthem / You Are Mine (a new Richard Page original) / Africa (Toto classic featuring Steve Lukather) / Oye Como Va (Santana classic featuring Gregg Rolie) / Love Is The Answer (Utopia classic featuring Todd Rundgren) / I Wanna Be Your Man / Broken Wings (Mr. Mister hit featuring Richard Page) / Hold The Line (Toto hit) / Photograph (classic Ringo Starr-George Harrison song) / Act Naturally (Buck Owens composition) / With a Little Help From My Friends / Give Peace a Chance (the Plastic Ono Band classic)

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