Ringo and His All Starr Band unleashed a cavalcade of hits for a capacity crowd at DeVos Performance Hall on Tuesday night. The review and photo gallery.
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Legendary drummer Ringo Starr’s tradition of closing out his concerts by singing The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” (with a lot of help from the audience) perfectly encapsulates the theme of All Starr Bands that he’s assembled since the late 1980s.
On Tuesday night in Grand Rapids, a half-dozen of his famous friends helped Ringo deliver another greatest hits extravaganza – a 24-song set steeped in nostalgia and upbeat classic rock touchstones, with the ever-smiling, peace-sign-waving octogenarian leading the charge in his own, inimitable Ringo-like way.
Heck, the man was doing jumping-jack claps at the end of the two-hour-and-15-minute show.
Kicking off with “Matchbox,” Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy” and The Beatles’ “What Goes On,” the concert at DeVos Performance Hall was as much a singles-laden jukebox showcasing the likes of Toto, Edgar Winter Group, Men at Work and Average White Band as it was a Ringo and Fab Four buffet, with many of the fans remaining on their feet for much of the show.
Buoyed by keyboardist Edgar Winter, singer-guitarist Colin Hay of Men at Work, guitarist Steve Lukather of Toto, drummer (and Detroit native) Gregg Bissonette, multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham and bassist-guitarist Hamish Stuart of Average White Band, many of the night’s highlights revolved around strong renditions of songs such as Toto’s 1982 hit “Africa” and an extended romp on the Edgar Winter Group’s 1972 instrumental “Frankenstein” that had Winter playing everything from his trademark hanging keyboard to saxophone to drums.
“Everybody on stage is a star in their own right,” Ringo rightly proclaimed early on.
If ‘starrs’ were to be given out, then Hay certainly deserved his share on the band’s report card because his voice and his songs – from “Down Under” to “Who Can It Be Now?” – held up, stood out and otherwise gave the extensive set a real boost. (Oh and his high vocals on “Africa” were impressive to say the least.)
The same goes for Lukather, whose puissant guitar playing hasn’t waned one iota over the years.
Under-the-radar starrs go to Ham, who came off as a one-man, instrumental three-ring circus, juggling saxophone, drums, keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals and more.
SING-ALONGS AND STANDING OVATIONS GALORE
But of course, the real Starr of the evening was Ringo himself, described by Winter as “a planet-wide purveyor of peace and love.”
Nearly all of his songs – mostly performed away from the drum kit as he swayed back and forth at the front of the stage – drew immediate crowd sing-alongs and standing ovations: “Yellow Submarine,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Back Off Boogaloo,” “Photograph.”
“What could be better? Peace, love and music, baby,” Ringo declared, all while sporting a glittery, peace-sign emblazoned T-shirt.
Oh sure, things at times resembled a schmaltzy, Vaudeville-styled oldies show, with the set lagging through “I’m the Greatest” and “I Wanna Be Your Man” that didn’t really capitalize on the considerable talents of the assembled musicians.
Regardless, all of it rolled out as a rollicking, good-time party for fans and musicians alike. It even included a sort-of-encore tribute to John Lennon with a poignant, audience-involving rendition of “Give Peace a Chance” just before the band left the stage.
“This is the coolest, most fun thing I’ve ever done in my career,” Lukather gushed at one point.
Indeed, few could ever have predicted that a one-time Beatle would still be touring a rock ‘n’ roll show in his 80s.
But I guess that’s what you get with a little help from your friends.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Michigan fans have more opportunities to catch Ringo’s tour this week. The band plays Four Winds Casino’s Silver Creek Event Center in New Buffalo at 9 p.m. Friday (Oct. 6) and Masonic Temple in Detroit at 6:15 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 7). Tickets for the New Buffalo concert are available at ticketmaster.com; tickets for the Detroit show available at axs.com. And check out Local Spins’ interview with Ringo and his band.
PHOTO GALLERY: Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band at DeVos Performance Hall
Photos by Anthony Norkus
SET LIST: Ringo & His All Starr Band @ DeVos Performance Hall
2. It Don’t Come Easy
3. What Goes On
4. Free Ride
6. Pick Up the Pieces
7. Down Under
9. I’m the Greatest
10. Yellow Submarine
11. Cut the Cake
13. Octopus’s Garden
14. Back Off Boogaloo
17. Work to Do
18. I Wanna Be Your Man
19. Johnny B. Goode
20. Who Can It Be Now?
21. Hold the Line
23. Act Naturally
24. With a Little Help From My Friends/Give Peace a Chance
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