Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band @ Fabulous Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
“It don’t come easy.” - Ringo Starr

I'm going to see and photograph Ringo Starr?!  Somebody pinch me.  I’m really seeing a member of the Beatles?!  After receiving this confirmation, I immediately sprang into action.  Lenses cleaned?  Check.  Batteries charged?  Check.  Four hours of sleep...let's rock and roll!

Since 1989, Starr has been touring with his All-Starr band.  The band has consisted of everyone from Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler, to former Prince percussionist, Sheila E.  The setup is Ringo performing a good mix of Beatles classics combined with his solo hits.  Then he lays back and lets his bandmates take the spotlight and perform a few of the songs that made them famous.  The 2018 incarnation of the All-Starr Band consists of Colin Hay (Men at Work), Gregg Roile (Journey/Santana), Graham Gouldman (10cc), Steve Lukather (Toto), Warren Ham (Bloodrock/Kansas), and drummer extraordinaire, Gregg Bissonette.  Collectively, 332 years of musical knowledge!  Let’s see if the how to lives up to the hype.  I can’t imagine it won’t!

Starr picks an interesting choice for his opening number, “Matchbox”, a Beatles cover originally written and recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927.  What makes this song a unique choice is that the Beatles first recorded their version with original drummer, Pete Best.  At this point I’m pretty sure Ringo could have stood onstage and yawned the rest of the night and the audience still would have loved it!  Starr quickly gets the crowd singing along with his second song of the night, “It Don’t Come Easy”.  As I mentioned above, all band members get their share of the night and first up is Gouldman with a cover of a lesser know 10cc tune, “Dreadlock Holiday”.  But come to think of it, how many 10cc songs do people know?

From here on out, there would only be a couple of songs that very few in attendance knew.  Bissonette and Rolie are perfectly in sync covering Santana’s, “Evil Ways”.  The All-Starr Band slides into an all-star jam with Lukather taking the lead on Toto’s hit, “Rosanna”.  As the various performer do their thing, Starr sits quietly behind his minimal drum kit, keeping perfect time with Bissonette.  Some 61 years later, Ringo does seem to still be enjoying performing, often smiling at his bandmates when the groove seems to be just right!  Former Men at Work founder, Colin Hay, is an unforeseen hit.  Prior to the All-Starr Band covering Men at Work’s “Down Under”, Hay explains the song took 40 minutes to write and he’s still performing it 40 years later, proving that it was time well spent.  We couldn’t agree more, Colin!

Starr’s English charm shines when he addresses a nearly sold out Fox Theater, while tinkering around on Ham’s keyboards stating, “I’ve written a lot of songs, but none of them were recorded by The Beatles”.  With that statement he launches into one of the few Starr compositions they did record, “Don’t Pass Me By”.  Before turning the stage back over to the other assembled hit makers, Starr has the whole building join in on “Yellow Submarine”.  Ringo leaves the stage briefly while Gouldman nails 10cc’s, “I’m Not in Love”, followed by a complementary rendition of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman”.  The night’s emcee returns to the stage to introduce the assembled talent.

Some of the songs that follow are some of the most iconic songs written in the past 40 years.  “You’re Sixteen”, “Africa”, “Oye Como Va”, “Who Can it be Now”, and “Hold the Line” were just a few of the titles covered.  After this run of hits, Starr returns to the helm to close out the evening.  Posing briefly onstage for a few cell phone pics, Starr leads yet another sing-a-long, “Photograph”.  A rompin', stompin', hootin', hollerin' blast from the past, “Act Naturally”, had every butt in the place off of their seats!  Pausing for a moment, the former Beatles skin-pounder charmed one last time.  “And now for the evenings surprise number”, but really it was no surprise at all, everyone was expecting to hear “With a Little Help From My Friends”.  Flashing peace signs at the audience, a 78-year-old Starr strolled off the stage with rock star swagger leading to a band only outro cover of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”.

Here I am writing this review, some five days later, still asking for someone to pinch me.  I got to see and photograph, Ringo f’n Starr!

A huge thank you to Richard Starkey’s management for allowing MTC MAG to be in the house.  And a big thanks to The Fabulous Fox Theater for being most accommodating!

Photos of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band @ Fabulous Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band @ Fabulous Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on September 13, 2018 Rating: 5
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