Ringo Starr and a little help from his friends

Nick McCabe
Turn it up to 11 — Gregg Bissonette tapped into the fun with Ringo Starr & his All-Starr Band.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Nick McCabe

Ringo Starr (he was a Beatle, kids) brought his All-Starr Band to Reno Wednesday night in the Grand Sierra Resort. Not messing around at all, he surrounded himself with top-notch artists, a veritable who’s who of rock ‘n’ roll.

The All Starrs are Todd Rundgren (Utopia, The New Cars, Meat Loaf, The Tubes, The Band, Psychedelic Furs, Green Bay Packers) on guitar, percussion, harmonica, keyboard and vocals, Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey) on keyboards and vocals, Steve Lukather (Toto, massive session work) on guitar and vocals, Richard Page (Pages, Mr. Mister) on bass guitar and vocals, Warren Ham (Cher, David Gates, Kansas, Toto, Neil Diamond) on woodwinds, percussion, keyboards and vocals, and Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Spinal Tap, Steve Vai) on drums. All of them are fantastic players worthy of sharing a stage with Ringo Starr. The average age of this senior citizen crew of musicians is more than 64 years old, but you wouldn’t be able to tell it.

An upbeat crowd of seasoned concertgoers packed the Grand Theatre. At the concession stand, it appeared more water and soda was flowing than beer and liquor.

Ringo ran onto the stage with his signature peace signs in the air and kicked in to a Carl Perkins cover of “Matchbox.” It was everything the crowd was looking for – some good old classic rock and roll. Ringo had a short story or a couple of one-liners between every song. The fast-moving show featured 25 songs, lasting about two hours.

What do you do when you have all that talent around you? You play everybody’s songs! Besides the obvious Beatles and Ringo Starr tunes, the musicians played hits by Todd Rundgren, Santana, Mr. Mister and Toto. All the other Starrs had their moments in the spotlight. Steve Lukather shined on his songs “Rosanna,” “Africa,” and” Hold The Line.” Gregg Rolie led great performances of “Evil Ways” and “Oye Como Va.” They also played a medley of “Black Magic Woman” and “Gypsy Queen,” which had amazing solos by Rolie and Lukather. They wrapped it up with a double amazing drum solo by Gregg Bissonette. This was also Ringo’s opportunity to leave stage and freshen up for the second half of the show.

Nick McCabe
All Ringo had to do was to “Act Naturally.”

The musicianship of all members was top shelf, to say the least. With all the experience onstage, there was no doubt about what to expect. Rundgren has an amazing voice, very much akin to Roy Orbison in tenor. Of all the people on stage, he definitely put the most mileage on his Fitbit, jumping around and traveling all over the place throughout the show. Meanwhile, Lukather’s guitar work was amazing. He put the cherry on the cake in every solo he doled out.

I only detected one misstep during the whole show. It was easy to spot since Ringo stopped the song when it occurred. At the beginning of “I Want To Be Your Man,” it sounded awful in just a few seconds. Ringo stopped and waved his arms, saying, “I couldn’t hear the guitar. Do it again. This is too good to lose,” and they kicked back in and nailed it like true professionals. There were a few momentary pitch issues, but nothing that most people would have even noticed. Ringo is quite a good singer. He didn’t get a lot of mic time in the Beatles because he was up against Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison. Go figure!

Toward the end, players ramped up the energy with “Photograph” and “Act Naturally”, bringing it to a big close with a medley of “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Give Peace a Chance.” You can’t go wrong with a Beatle on stage. Ringo was the unhealthy one back in the Beatlemania days, missing part of a world tour due to his health, but at 76 he is as spry and energetic a man that any of us could hope to be when we get there. If we get there.

-Nick McCabe

  • Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
    Oct. 19, 2016
    Grand Sierra Resort
    Matchbox – Carl Perkins
    It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr
    What Goes On – The Beatles
    I Saw The Light – Todd Rundgren
    Evil Ways – Willie Bobo
    Rosanna – Toto
    Kyrie – Mr. Mister
    Bang The Drum Slowly – Todd Rundgren
    Boys – The Shirelles
    Don’t Pass Me By – The Beatles
    Yellow Submarine – The Beatles
    Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen – Santana (Ringo on break)
    You’re Sixteen – Johnny Burnette
    Back Off Boogaloo – Ringo Starr
    You Are Mine – Richard Page
    Africa – Toto
    Oye Como Va – Tito Puente
    I Wanna Be Your Man – The Beatles
    Love Is The Answer – Utopia
    Broken Wings – Mr. Mister
    Hold The Line – Toto
    Photograph – Ringo Starr
    Act Naturally – Buck Owens
    With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles
    Give Peace  Chance – Plastic Ono Band

    Tahoe Onstage
    Richard Page and Todd Rundgren
    Tahoe Onstage
    Steve Lukather and Warren Ham. Photo by Nick McCabe

    Nick McCabe
    Gregg Rolie on keyboards

ABOUT Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage
Tahoe Onstage is an online entertainment and sports magazine covering Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, the Carson Valley and June Lake.

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