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Review: Ringo’s “All Starr Band” in Columbus, Ohio
Ringo Starr’s “All Starr Band” is a group of talented musicians who have come together to create a unique and unforgettable musical experience. The band is currently on tour in 2023, and they are wowing audiences across the United States with their incredible performances.
Last night’s performance at Ohio State’s Mershon Auditorium was at capacity, and the crowd of mostly mature fans — many dressed in vintage Beatles T-shirts and jackets — loved every minute of it. This intimate venue is a theater located on North High Street in Columbus, Ohio, and holds about 2500 fans.
The current lineup of the “All Starr Band” includes Ringo Starr himself on vocals, drums, and piano. At 83, he appears to be in great shape, sharp witted and very energetic. Joining him are Steve Lukather from Toto on guitar and vocals, Colin Hay from Men at Work on guitar, harmonica, and vocals, Edgar Winter on keyboards, saxophone, percussion, and vocals, Warren Ham on saxophone, harmonica, and vocals, Hamish Stuart from Average White Band on bass guitar and vocals, and Gregg Bissonette on drums.
While I’ve waited a long time to see this show, my expectation was that it would be a walk down memory lane of Beatlemania, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Each member of the band brings their own unique style and sound to the group, creating a diverse and exciting musical experience. Collectively, the musicians have played for some of the biggest names in music history, including Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and many more.
One of the trademarks of the “All Starr Band” is that each member gets to perform songs from their individual careers alongside Ringo’s hits. This allows for a wide variety of music to be played during each show. Some of the songs that have made the setlist include Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy,” the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” a cover of Toto’s “Africa” led by Steve Lukather, “Pick Up the Pieces” by Average White Band of which Hamish Stuart is an original member and Men at Work’s hit “Overkill” that was founded by frontman Colin Hay.
The bandmates agree that the sense of freedom they have onstage when it comes to reimagining their songs is part of what makes the live experience so enjoyable. “It’s such an interesting variety of material,” Winter stated in an interview with American Songwriter. “I think that the chemistry of a band is a very unique and personal thing. I try to find a place to really listen and fit into what everybody else is doing. Then it becomes a whole new experience and a whole new thing. I think we do a lot of these songs in a very unique way that you will never have heard before.”
“It’s great playing with this band and for the freedom of…that we may change it a little,” shares Starr. “It’s not actually what was on the record, and that’s fine by me.” “We put our own imprint into it,” adds Ham. “That’s what makes it unique and so much fun.”
The tour launched on May 19 in Temecula, California, and made stops in San Diego and San Francisco; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Detroit; Chicago; Boston; New York City; Philadelphia; Washington D.C.; Atlanta; Nashville; Austin; Houston; Dallas; Phoenix; San Antonio; before wrapping up in San Jose on October 13th.
In conclusion, Ringo Starr’s “All Starr Band” is an incredible group of musicians who are putting on an unforgettable show during their 2023 tour. With each member bringing their own unique style to the group, there is something for everyone in this diverse musical experience. Lasting just about two and a half hours, the time seemed to fly. Ringo’s interaction with the crowd, bringing a handful of fans onstage for a hug, or an autograph was an example of why many people think of Ringo as “the nicest Beatle.”
Ringo opened with these three songs:
It Don’t Come Easy
What Goes On
The following songs were from the band members:
Pick Up the Pieces
I’m the Greatest
Ringo exits the stage at this point:
Cut the Cake
Ringo returns to the stage to sing:
Work to Do
I wanna Be Your Man
Johnny B Good
Who Can it Be Now
Hold the Line
and a singalong of “Help From My Friends” finished off an extraordinary evening.
Special mention of Edgar Winter, who played nearly every instrument on stage.