In Pitchfork’s conversation with Aziz Ansari about the music used in his show Master of None, Jeremy Gordon leads with Ansari’s bit about using Toto’s “Africa” in the show, “The Toto people were like, ‘Do they genuinely like this song or are they making fun of Toto?’ We were like, ‘No, we love this song! Please, Toto. Why do you have such low self esteem?'” Well, I can attest that the capacity crowd at the Capitol Theatre loves the song as well.
Indeed, the live performance of “Africa” is one highlight of many in the All-Starr band’s show. It’s also safe to say I genuinely enjoy Ringo Starr — the man has lived for peace and love his whole career (most recently he cancelled a gig in North Carolina to show his support for the transgender community and in opposition to HB2) and his musical legacy needs no embellishment.
Starr assembled this strong lineup of musicians, Steve Lukather of Toto, Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren, Richard Page of Mr. Mister, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette, back in 2012 and this group has become his longest running All-Starr Band yet. Their set includes a variety of hits from all of the members band’s or collaborations.
I went into the show without any knowledge of the set and was very surprised by the tunes they pulled out. Beyond “Africa” the band performed a smattering of tunes Santana made popular, including “Oye Como Va”, which Rolle had likely done recently on the road with Santana. And they also included the Mr. Mister smash “Broken Wings” a retro throwback (for me) that put me in a state of comfortable ’80s reverie.
Then, of course, there are The Beatles tunes which one has to expect. Early on, Starr joked that “What Goes On” should have had his name (Starkey) listed first in the credits but, other than that quick jab, he thrillingly performed “Don’t Pass Me By”, “I’m the Greatest” and more. “Yellow Submarine” turned into a great audience sing-along.
As Starr told Rolling Stone before the show, “I play because this is what I do,” he says. “I love to play, and I’m still playing. I’m playing with great musicians, singers, and writers. So, I’m blessed I’m still doing it, really.”
Audiences too are blessed in that they can still catch Starr on the road. Though his current string of dates ends in July, Starr mentioned (in the aforementioned interview) he will have another five-week tour in the autumn, so be on the lookout for those dates. In 2016, I’ve caught several acts that predate me (Foreigner, The Who, Brian Wilson) and Starr’s show is one of the most surprising and enjoyable yet. We need many more years of Peace and Love and Ringo please.
From a press release: “On July 7, 2016 Ringo will join friends and fans in front of Capitol Records for his annual Peace & Love birthday event. Since 2008 Ringo has been inviting the world to join him at Noon their local time to think, say and do “Peace & Love” to help realize his dream of having a wave of Peace & Love sweep over the planet.”
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)
Kyrie (Mr. Mister)
Bang the Drum All Day (Todd Rundgren)
Boys (The Shirelles)
Don’t Pass Me By (The Beatles)
Yellow Submarine (The Beatles)
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
You’re Sixteen (Johnny Burnette)
I’m the Greatest (Ringo Starr)
You Are Mine (Richard Page)
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 a Chance (Plastic Ono Band)
June 22 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
June 23 Fox Theatre, Detroit, MI
June 25 Pinewood Bowl Theater, Lincoln, NE
June 26 Hartman Arena, Wichita, KS
June 28 Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
July 1 Humphreys Concerts, San Diego, CA
July 2 The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA