What would you think if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends,
With a little help from my friends
Imagine being 79 years old, headlining a rock concert tour and playing songs that were popular last century: Would you need a little help from your friends to pull off a successful concert tour? Most folks would probably say “yes” in answering that question.
Richard Starkey, professionally known as Ringo Starr, wasn’t afraid to ask for some help on his latest concert tour. In fact, Ringo’s All Starr Band provided a great deal of help to the drummer who first rose to superstardom as a member of the Beatles.
On Tuesday August 13th, Ringo and His All Starr Band came to Roanoke, Virginia, performing at the Berglund Center. For those who attended the show, Ringo and his band put on an excellent performance.
Founded 30 years ago, Ringo’s All Starr Band is actually a rock supergroup. Its members are all renowned musicians and instrumentalists who played in other prominent bands prior to joining Ringo’s rock group. Here are the current members of the All Starr Band and the former bands and artists associated with each member:
Ringo Starr – vocals, drums, piano (Beatles)
Colin Hay – guitar, vocals (Men at Work)
Hamish Stuart – bass, guitar, vocals (Average White Band, Paul McCartney)
Gregg Bissonette – drums, backing vocals (David Lee Roth)
Steve Lukather – guitars, vocals (Toto)
Gregg Rolie – organ, vocals (Santana, Journey)
Warren Ham – saxophone, keyboards, percussion, vocals (Kansas, AD, Toto)
The setlist for Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band consisted of 24 songs. Ringo performed 12 songs, while Gregg Rolie, Steve Lukather, Hamish Stuart and Colin Hay performed three songs each.
- Matchbox (Beatles)
- It Don’t Come Easy (Solo)
- What Goes On (Beatles)
- Boys (Beatles)
- Don’t Pass Me By (Beatles)
- Yellow Submarine (Beatles)
- You’re Sixteen (Solo)
- Anthem (Solo)
- I Wanna be Your Man (Beatles)
- Photograph (Solo)
- Act Naturally (Beatles)
- With a Little Help From My Friends (Beatles)
(Give Peace a Chance: Chorus)
Gregg Rollie’s Setlist
- Evil Ways (Santana)
- Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
- Oye Como Va (Santana)
Steve Lukather’s Setlist
- Rosanna (Toto)
- Africa (Toto)
- Hold the Line (Toto)
Hamish Stuart’s Setlist
- Pick Up the Pieces (Average White Band)
- Cut the Cake (Average White Band)
- Work to Do (Isley Brothers/Average White band)
Colin Hay’s Setlist
- Down Under (Men at Work)
- Overkill (Men at Work)
- Who Can It Be Now (Men at Work)
Although Ringo had played at other venues in Virginia, this was the first time the Beatles’ drummer performed a show in Roanoke. It was also the first time that my wife Priscilla and I had ever attended a show with Ringo and His All Starr Band.
Just after Priscilla and I parked our car at the Berglund Center lot, we ran into my friend Dave Delaney, and then Dave introduced me to his friend Randy Lohr.
As the four of us waited in line to gain entry into the concert venue, I asked Delaney and Lohr if they could submit their comments to me after the show. Both agreed to share their thoughts with me and I am going to be sharing their comments below. I will also be sharing comments from some other friends and acquaintances that also attended the concert.
Before I share the comments on Ringo’s show, I am going to reveal the most common thread among every single person submitting their thoughts to me: Everyone said they were extremely disappointed and could not understand why there was no encore at the end of the concert.
The last song of the evening was “With a Little Help from My Friends,” along with the chorus of “Give Peace a Chance.” There was no encore and fans were not happy. Surely, Ringo and His All Starr Band could have performed songs like, “Back Off Boogaloo,” “The No No Song,” or “Goodnight Vienna” for encore songs? The lack of an encore was a major letdown for the crowd at the end of the evening.
Here now are thoughts and comments about Ringo’s show from those who attended the concert.
Dave Delaney (Roanoke, Virginia):
“The whole All-Starr Band was great as always, with Colin Hay from Men at Work as the surprise standout, such a distinctive voice! Even if he is a little bit stiff on stage. Steve Lukather on guitar is as impressive as ever. If there were any disappointments, it was that Ringo didn’t make any mention of being in “The Star City of the South” – how could you not say something about that?
“The Average White Band songs were fun to hear, but kind of fell flat in terms of featuring Hamish Stuart (which is the point of doing the “All Starr” songs). It could have been any cover band or this band covering any song. Other big surprise: apparently low attendance! I saw large sections of seats with no one in them. Based on the enthusiasm we get for “1964 The Tribute” every year, I would have thought there were a lot more Beatle/Ringo fans in Roanoke and the surrounding area.”
Randy Lohr (Richmond, Virginia):
“Ringo, in this setting, was the gracious host who was willing to give up the chance to play more of his songs so that his fellow artists could perform their big hits and entertain the crowd with them. It was like a great mix-tape of curated classic rock from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s, ranging from the jam rock of Santana to the Brit funk of Average White Band, from the pop rock of Toto to the quirky new wave of Men At Work. Each of the “All Starrs” – Greg Rolie, Hamish Stuart, Steve Lukather, and Colin Hay – had an obvious blast playing back-up roles for each other, I think in deference to the ultimate back-up player in the house, Ringo himself!
“The concert started promptly at 7:30 (fitting for a musician whose job is to set the time!) and ended almost exactly two hours later at 9:30, with a rousing rendition of “With A Little Help From My Friends” (got a little goose-bumpy again as Ringo sang those first lines – so perfect) and then a pseudo-encore of “Give Peace A Chance,” for which Ringo ran back on stage to help finish, flashing his signature peace sign, and wishing us all well.”
Sammy Oakey (Roanoke, Virginia):
“Any 79 year old who ends their two-hour concert by doing jumping jacks on stage has my respect, not that Richard Starkey lacked that before his recent Roanoke concert on August 13th. The current collection of All Starr Band members truly complement Ringo’s style and music, and the entire concert was enjoyable for the many generations that attended.
“While I love the songs that Ringo selected to sing, they’re the same numbers that he has been performing for several decades now, and I yearn for a few of his more obscure nuggets. “Only You”, “Octopus’ Garden”, and “”Goodnight Vienna” would surely be great additions to his show.
“Ringo looked and sounded great! While it was a blast to see him front and center at the microphone, it was equally exciting to see him climb up on his drum kit and play along to the other band members’ songs. He looked SO at ease on drums, and the years melted away with each beat of his drums. Having Greg Bissonette on the other drum kit was a great idea, as his stellar percussion and superb stage presence make him a true unsung hero.
“Instrumentalist Warren Ham also added a great deal to the show, with his various instrumental skills as well as some high vocals during “Africa”. While I enjoyed Steve Luthaker, Greg Rawley, and Colin Hay, I’d say my favorite band member (after Sir Ringo, of course!) was Hamish Stuart. The former Average White Band (and Paul McCartney band) member was more than stellar on his numbers, showing that he has lost none of his funk from the 70’s. “
Anne Fox (Roanoke, Virginia):
“I’ve loved Ringo since elementary school and would have gone to see him even if he just stood on stage and smiled. I found him funny and engaging and enjoyed all of his songs, esp. “Yellow Submarine” and “A Little Help From My Friends”. But the best treats of the evening came from his All Star Band, my favorites were from Santana and Toto. “Hold the Line” was great! From where we were sitting, the dialogue was difficult to understand. All in all, I had a delightful time and LOVED seeing Ringo!”
Alice Webber (Salem, Virginia):
“I was super excited about seeing Ringo. Probably my last chance to see a Beatle. I wish he had sung a few more Beatles songs. “Octopus’s Garden” would have been nice instead of “You’re 16” (which makes me cringe every time I hear it.) But overall it was really special to see him, he was a great showman, great with the audience, and you could tell he enjoyed the men he shared the stage with. What I didn’t expect (because I did no research) was the caliber of his All Starr band! Hearing “Africa,” “Down Under,” “Evil Ways” and the others was a wonderful surprise. The whole night was GREAT! Loved it!”
Stevie Holcomb (Roanoke, Virginia)
“Great concert, of course he has a way to let his All Stars have their moment without making you wish there were more Beatles songs. Having seen him before, I knew what to expect. It is nice to hear Santana and Average White Band song’s sprinkled through. Still, he did a few favorites and thankfully, didn’t do Liverpool 8 (even though he DID do Anthem, which may be just as bad, Ringo is not a great lyricist) which is plumb awful.”
Michelle Lionberger (Roanoke, Virginia):
“As an elder statesmen in the world of rock, Ringo still has it. Not only did he give a fantastic performance himself, he also put together a truly all star band featuring some outstanding musicians.”
Chuck Lionberger (Roanoke, Virginia):
“This was a fun concert. Ringo was awesome, of course and I equally enjoyed singing-a-long with Men At Work, Toto and Santana songs. It was like being transported back to high school. Not only was there incredible vocal talent but also amazing musical performances. These guys can play and sing along.”
Nancy Helms Childress (Vinton, Virginia):
“I thought the concert was very well organized; letting Ringo sing with the other musicians taking turns singing their big hits. That was a great format. I was truly mesmerized watching the dual drummers, perfectly in sync! Amazing! Sometimes when Ringo was on the drums, I imagined John, Paul and George being on the stage with him. What a thrill that would have been! I have seen Paul McCartney in concert and now I have seen Ringo and I feel I am truly one of the lucky ones! I would go again to either or both if the opportunity ever comes up!”
Gayle Deel (Roanoke, Virginia):
“Ringo was in great form both physically and vocally, singing several of his signature songs, along with Yellow Submarine, which enthused all the Beatle fans.
This was special for me as I took my two sons, both drummers, to see him for the first time. Although they did note Ringo’s drum was not miked, only a true musician would notice that detail. The music of Santana, Average White Band. Toto and Men at Work brought back so many memories and was spot on.
“Ringo spoke and performed to the audience like he was playing in our living rooms. At one point he mentioned his “first” band: I know we all thought he was going to say The Beatles, but he gave a shout out to his original band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Starr also mentioned his Beatle mates and ended his show with John’s “Give Peace a Chance,” with Ringo’s signature line, “peace and love” with the two finger V. I left in chills.”
Thanks to everyone who submitted their comments for this Ringo Starr concert review.
Before I end this message, I will be sharing my favorite song by each of the four singing members of the All Starr Band and on the “Starr” of the concert, Ringo!
Gregg Rolie: “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”
Although I loved “Evil Ways,” a song that Rollie sang at Woodstock 50 years ago as lead singer of Santana, it was actually “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen” that was musically pleasing to me. Rollie’s organ, Steve Lukather’s guitar and the rest of the All Starr Band bought out one of the best overall musical performances of the entire evening.
Steve Lukather: “Africa”
The All Starr Band played one of the greatest Yacht Rock songs of all time: Toto’s biggest hit “Africa.” Their version extended Colin Hay’s guitar and Warren Ham’s saxophone, which complimented Lukather’s guitar and vocals in an excellent way. The crowd seemed to resonate with the tune during this performance.
Hamish Stuart: “Pick Up the Pieces”
This song has always been a favorite tune for me. I had the opportunity to meet Stuart when the Average White Band played a concert in Roanoke in 1975, while I worked for radio station WROV. Every member of the All Starr Band contributed to the success of this tune, with superb musicianship on the stage. It was a true meshing of instrumental talent on this selection.
Colin Hay: “Overkill”
With terrific songs like “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now,” it was extremely hard for me to pick “Overkill” as my favorite song. I loved all three of the Men at Work songs, but Hay’s best vocals of the night came when he performed “Overkill.” Collectively, the All Starr Band had wonderful blending of guitars, keyboards and saxophone. I maintain it was the best overall performance that evening by the band.
Ringo Starr: “It Don’t Come Easy”
Easily my favorite Ringo song of the night was “It Don’t Come Easy,” which was co-written by George Harrison and became Ringo’s first solo hit single during the summer of 1971. I enjoyed hearing Warren Ham’s saxophone and Steve Lukather’s guitar on one of the most musically demanding Ringo tunes. I appreciated the All Starr Band’s playing on this timeless classic.
It may sound like a cliché but Ringo has paid his dues. As the Roanoke Times music writer Tad Dickens stated in his review of Starr’s concert, “The Beatles drummer, who turned 79 last month, is an energetic and groove-oriented onstage presence, 30 years removed from rehab, and 30 years into leading his own All Starr Band.”
Ringo has paid his dues and he can now sing the blues. He did so with His All Starr Band in Roanoke on August 13th, 2019. Rock on, Ringo Starr!
It don’t come easy,
You know it don’t come easy.
Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don’t come easy.
You don’t have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.
Forget about the past and all your sorrows,
The future won’t last,
It will soon be over tomorrow.
I don’t ask for much, I only want your trust,
And you know it don’t come easy.
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