Ringo Starr Touts ‘Peace And Love’ As All-Starr Band Tour Wraps Up


“OK! This is the All-Starr Band!” declared Ringo Starr last month in New Buffalo, Michigan, dashing onto the stage to begin the evening as emcee before moving to the drum set later. “Every one of you will know at least two songs!” joked the Beatle, setting the stage for the extravaganza to come.

Touring behind his latest EP Rewind Forward, Starr has toured in an array of All-Starr Band iterations since 1989, ceding center stage to his famous band mates throughout a show that functions not just as a trip down Beatle memory lane but recent rock history.

Joined on this run by guitarists Steve Lukather (Toto) and Colin Hay (Men At Work), bassist Hamist Stuart (Average White Band), keyboard player Edgar Winter, drummer Gregg Bissonette and saxophonist Warren Ham, the seven piece group put their spin upon a few tracks from the projects of each member.

Following the group’s take on Carl Perkins (“Matchbox”) to open the show, Starr and company launched into one of Ringo’s biggest solo hits, Bissonette handling drums as Starr stood up to deliver the lead vocal on the George Harrison-produced “It Don’t Come Easy,” a #4 hit for Starr in America upon its release in 1971.

From there, the All-Starr band guided the audience on a look back at 1965’s Rubber Soul, Lukather leaning to his left into Starr during the closing solo on “What Goes On.” “Only one song written by Lennon, McCartney, Starr,” remarked Ringo of the evening’s first Beatle cut.

“Everyone on stage is a star in their own right,” Ringo explained, introducing the audience to the All-Starr concept. “We’ll go around the stage and we’ll start with ‘Mr. Talkative’ Edgar Winter!” he began, with Winter soon offering up a masterclass in alliteration as the band tore into the Edgar Winter Group’s “Free Ride.”

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be standing on this stage around the monstrously masterful musicians in the All-Starr Band!” said Winter. “Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest drummer in the greatest band that’s ever been!” he continued, introducing Starr as the drummer got situated behind the kit for his first track pounding the skins.

From there, it was onto Toto. With his trademark quaff towering over him, Lukather was a delight on stage in Michigan. While he often flies under the radar of the average music fan, the co-founding Toto member has carved out a unique niche as one of music’s great session artists, performing on albums by acts like Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Olivia Newton-John and countless others.

Taking the lead vocal on “Rosanna,” Lukather offered up a scorching solo during the number, the crowd’s first look at one of several Toto records responsible for worldwide sales of more than 40 million.

The round-robin continued with the familiar instrumental notes of Average White Band’s Scottish-infused funk, with Winter adding additional sax during “Pick up the Pieces,” a showcase which soon gave way to dueling drum parts, the strength of the All-Starr Band on full display throughout.

“To the day 42 years ago, this song was released,” mused Hay, often underrated for his dry sense of humor. “And New Buffalo, Michigan was the first city outside Australia where it went to #1” he joked, setting up “Down Under.” “I wouldn’t have believed it myself!”

While it was initially released as a b-side in 1981, the song would begin a slow climb in America, eventually topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983, with Men At Work selling more than 30 million albums around the world.

From there, it was back to Starr, with his own “I’m the Greatest” following a cover of The Shirelles (“Boys”).

“I love you too!” responded Starr to a screaming fan as the band whipped up snippets of “Please Please Me” and “Daytripper,” a tease heading into one of his most beloved Beatle vocals on “Yellow Submarine.”

Starr left the stage as the All-Starr Band whipped up a head of steam during largely instrumental takes on Average White Band’s “Cut the Cake” and a prog-fueled traipse through Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein.”

“I’m back and we’re going underwater again!” declared Starr to the crowd’s delight, Bissonette taking the drums as Ringo danced along the foot of the stage, offering up an enchanting lead vocal during “Octopus’s Garden.”

With Starr settling in alongside Bissonette later, “Back Off Boogaloo” was heavy on percussion, the group briefly hitting upon “Helter Skelter” as the song drew to a close.

The hit parade continued with Men At Work’s “Overkill” giving way to an all hands jam on Toto’s “Africa,” with Lukather soon moving to bass as the group punched up its take on The Isley Brothers (“Work To Do”).

A relentlessly rocking look at Chuck Berry (“Johnny B. Goode”) found Winter moving deftly to saxophone as Starr and Bissonette drove the beat. Ringo smiled wide moments later as his All-Starr band stretched out on Toto’s “Hold the Line,” the Michigan show heading toward the finish line.

“I’m not gonna tell them anything about the next song,” joked Starr following his spin upon “Act Naturally,” setting up a fitting conclusion to the show with a Beatle moment that indeed required no introduction. “Alright – kick it in, lads…” said Beatle Ringo in understated fashion as the All-Star Band launched a full crowd sing-along during “With a Little Help From my Friends.”

“I want to thank you for being a great audience!” said Sir Ringo Starr, 83, as the evening drew to a close. “Peace and love… It’s the only way.”

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