Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band Vector Arena February 9, 2013

RS30

49 years ago Ringo Starr was busy changing musical history as he and the other three Beatles performed for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show, causing girls to scream, boys to grow their hair and join bands and kicking off The British Invasion in America. Here in Auckland, Ringo was surrounded by a slightly less talented group of musicians and the adoration was a bit more subdued. Nevertheless, the hits came fast as furious for two hours. Exactly two hours.

By now Ringo’s All Starr tour is a well-oiled machine. He’s been doing it since 1989…I saw the first tour which featured Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Dr John, Clarence Clemons, Billy Preston, Levon Helm and Rick Danko.

This time around, Ringo is accompanied by Todd Rundgren, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie of Santana and Journey, Richard Page of Mr Mister and multi-instrumentalist Mark Rivera along with drummer Gregg Bissonette. Of course Ringo manned the drum kit as well, when he wasn’t taking center stage. Along with Ringo, I was most interested in seeing what Todd Rundgren would contribute.

A precisely 8pm the show started with Ringo leading the group through Carl Perkin’s Matchbox, a tune he recorded with The Beatles. Ringo was looking good…trim and fit and sounding good as well as he flashed the peace sign incessantly to the crowd. The band looked like they were having fun as well, particularly Rundgren who, playing guitar and singing backing vocals, threw in the occasional leg kick just to keep things interesting.

Following It Don’t Come Easy, Ringo performed, almost apologetically, a song called Wings, from his most recent album. It went down OK, but the fans were there to hear hits, so Ringo climbed up on his drum stool and let the others have their time in the spotlight.

First up was Rundgren who sang I Saw The Light. Over the course of the evening each of the four other “All-Starrs” would perform three songs. Sadly Todd’s were the most disappointing. His singing was weak and his version of Love Is The Answer was downright embarrassing. Todd Rundgren has made some of the best records of the 1970s, but you’d never know it from what was heard tonight.

As much as Todd was a disappointment, Gregg Rolie was a pleasant surprise. Fortunately he focused on his days with Santana rather than Journey and his versions of Evil Ways and Black Magic Woman were superb. The entire band locked in with him and they had a good old jam, with Rolie leading from behind his Hammond B-3 organ. Lukather took his best solos of the night during Rolie’s tunes and the crowd responded accordingly.

Lukather himself fronted three Toto tunes. There were plenty of Toto fans in attendance who wanted to hear Rosanna and Africa, but I wasn’t one of them. I admit to playing a bit of air guitar along with Hold The Line however.

Richard Page’s contributions were the two Mr Mister hits, Kyrie and Broken Wings and a new song called You Are Mine. No doubt, Page possessed the best singing voice of the bunch…he even helped with the high notes on the Toto numbers…and so he sounded excellent, although, again, I’m no fan of his Mr Mister material.

Which leaves Mr Starr himself.  Ringo was in fine form, joking with the crowd, getting them revved up and generally basking in their applause. While the two new songs just kind of lay there…naming a song Anthem doesn’t make it so…the old hits sounded great.

Among the Beatles songs, the biggest surprise was Don’t Pass Me By, the wonky-sounding tune from the White Album and the first the Ringo had written himself.  Yellow Submarine had everyone singing along and I Wanna Be Your Man was good fun.

The highlight of Ringo’s solo tune was definitely Photograph, the song he wrote with George Harrison for his 1973 Ringo album. It was the best of the 24 songs performed during the show.

Yes, there were highs and lows as the evening progressed and there were times when it felt like they were rushing to get to the end…”moving right along”….but the overall vibe was warm and friendly with both band and audience having a good time.

The evening closed with the obligatory With A Little Help From My Friends along with a coda of Give Peace A Chance. Then Todd led the band through a brief Haka and they were gone…at 10 o’clock on the dot.

49 years later Ringo Starr wasn’t making history, but he did make an arena full of fans very happy.

Marty Duda

Click on any of the photos to watch a gallery of concert shots taken by the mighty Michael Flynn for The 13th Floor:

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band set list:

  1. Matchbox
  2. It Don’t Come Easy
  3. Wings
  4. I Saw The Light
  5. Evil Ways
  6. Rosanna
  7. Kyrie
  8. Don’t Pass Me By
  9. Bang On The Drum
  10. Boys
  11. Yellow Submarine
  12. Black Magic Woman
  13. Honey Don’t
  14. Anthem
  15. You Are Mine
  16. Africa
  17. Everybody’s Everything
  18. I Wanna Be Your Man
  19. Love Is The Answer
  20. Broken Wings
  21. Hold The Line
  22. Photograph
  23. Act Naturally
  24. With A Little Help From My Friends

6 responses to “Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band Vector Arena February 9, 2013

  1. Joe Turner

    Thought the whole show musically was awesome particularly Steve and Greg. Also great to hear Don’t Pass Me By I think an underated song with a brief keyboard from Ringo a really neat night even got some phone photos thanks Ringo!

  2. Alan

    It was a great concert, so many hits from so many era’s and all done with passion and polish. Ringo was a pleasure with his politeness and banter and although his voice wasn’t as strong he still performed well for a 60 year old (yeah), Todd Rundgren ( the true star) was excellent and it was a pleasure to hear some of his great songs live ( pity there weren’t more in the set), Steve Luthaker was brilliant and showed why he is one of the best rock guitarists of all time. The Greg Rolle from Woodstock was a pleasure to hear from and the crowd really got going on his Evil Ways and Black Magic woman. I agree that Richard Page was the standout singer and I thought that Broken Wings was the best song performed on the night, and his bass playing was tight and inventive. Mark Rivera and Greg Bisonette were really great too, they both performed essential parts with polish, energy and humour. With Ringo playing at some stages we had 4 percussionists and the sound was very tight and well mixed. The crowd had a great time but the concert would have been better if the Nazis at Vector allowed dancing in the aisles or even set aside room down the front for that. They are always too anal at this venue and as a result the place has all the charm of an abattoir – pity… the show would have been much better at The Edge…
    Thanks Ringo for putting together another great line up and I hope you enjoyed the tea and come back again soon…

  3. Sue

    I had a great time and loved it all. You would have seen me having that good time as well! It was like seeing a slice of history up on stage. We did manage to meet the guys afterwards, and got the photos and autographs and had a good long conversation with Todd. I’ve just become a Todd fan and told him that he would notice a slight rise in record sales from today after I go and seek out some of his. Ringo had already retired to bed with a cup of tea, but the other guys were charming and in a relaxed mood, funny and chatty.

    • Littlewing

      Hi Sue,
      Glad you enjoyed the show (everyone). I didnt make it (but my sister did). Im a Todd Rundgren Fan of 30 years. If you (or any other Todd Fans) are reading this and want to join the worldwide TR Fan Family I can point you In the right direction and hook you up. Write me at littlewingnz [at} yahoo.com. Saw Steve Luk with G3 at Bluesfest in Byron last year. Killer show (and festival). BTW Todd is about to release his 24th Solo record called ‘state’ on April 9th.

      • Sue

        Hi Littlewing
        Thanks I will sign up to that.
        Todd told us about his soon to be released new album called State. Can’t wait! He signed *Initiation* LP cover for me. Very cool guy.

        Sue

  4. Pingback: Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band (Concert Review) | The 13th Floor

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