As one half the remaining members of The Beatles, Ringo Starr’s contribution to rock ‘n’ roll eclipses nearly every other living musician, but he shared the stage with his All-Starr Band and delivered many hits that span decades beyond his reign with the Fab Four.
During Starr’s world tour stop in Penticton, he and his All-Starr Band took over the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct. 10.
While every member of the All-Starr Band had achieved vast success in their careers, Starr – being a former Beatle – helped to trail blaze rock ‘n’ roll into what it is today. There’s no denying that Starr’s star-power eclipses that of his bandmates, but it was anything other than a one-man show. Even though each musician on stage is revered in different degrees, all of their personalities and musical styles were given equal attention — much like the Beatles.
It’s hard to understand why Starr didn’t place more emphasis on his success from the 1960s. Not surprisingly, it was during the handful of Beatles tunes that audience members were most engaged, bringing almost everybody to their feet, many with two fingers in the air waving the international symbol for peace. I can’t imagine what would have pleased the crowd more than hearing Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band played in its entirety. Nonetheless, with a little help from his friends who are classic rock musicians from the bands Santana, Mr. Mister, Toto and other classic rock contributors, the largely baby boomer crowd was sprinkled with steady doses of hits from their heydays, such as Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Vas, Broken Wings and Hold the Line. But amid the hits that succeeded the Beatles catalogue, the frequency of foot-tapping songs made it clear that a drummer was leading the show.
During the flow of the music, Richard Page and Todd Rundgren especially shared the stage most co-operatively, dancing and bopping together while playing their strings.
While the All Starrs’ don’t share the same level of fame as any member of the Beatles, their striking skill sets and charming stage presence made it easy to see that Starr was sharing the stage with other masters.
While the band Toto isn’t top of mind to every rock ’n’ roll fan, its founding guitarist Steve Lukather shreds at a speed that didn’t exist while the Beatles were alive. If his fretboard were a keyboard, he’d be able to type 500 words per minute.
As the show closed in on the halfway point, the crowd heard the first Beatles staple – Yellow Submarine, which of course was written by Ringo. In his quirky, monotone voice, he asked the audience midway through the song, “we’re going to Penticton?”
The show focused primarily on the music, as the stage and visual productions were kept quite basic.
The show was well-formatted for the target audience. With his legendary status, Starr doesn’t need to be fashionably late and came on stage right at 7:30 p.m., and together, he and his group easily carried the entire show without an opening band. There were no breaks in his two-hour set, and he saved us the dog and pony show of an encore (stadium performances require too much co-ordination for musicians to genuinely improvise). He saved the best for last with a mesh of With a Little Help From My Friends leading into Give Peace a Chance.
Considering how there are hundreds of sculptures of Ringo Starr standing in wax museums around the world, the crowd got their money’s worth by seeing the legend alive in flesh. But even at 75 years old, he did much more than simply show up, and the crew of aging rockers he brought along came with just as much stamina.