June 7, 2022; 4/5 stars Above: pre-show stage (no photos allowed during concert)
Ringo was great, full of energy and singing really well. During Beatlemania, who would have guessed that he’d be a comfortable and capable frontman in his 80s?
Big drawback was that Edgar Winter was supposed to play keyboards, but he came down with Covid. The song arrangements seemed thin as a result, and the show probably ran 10 minutes less than it would have had he been there. Winters’ absence is the sole reason for my four-star ranking instead of five.
Ringo stuck to the numbers he performed in the Beatles’ catalog and a few of his early-career classics, which is what the audience was there to hear. He sang some of them out front, and those were his best performances, while he manned the drums for about half of his numbers and all of those sung by the other All-Starrs. Ringo didn’t exactly move like Jagger, but he bounced around like somebody decades younger, and he sang with almost youthful exuberance. The second drummer, Gregg Bissonette, matched Ringo’s style and played with a slightly heavier hand, leaving the former Beatle free to shine behind the microphone, his baritone voice warm and pleasant within his limited range.
Three of the other All-Starrs performed songs from their own careers, with mixed results to my ears. The best was Colin Hays from Men at Work, with rousing versions of Down Under and Who Can It Be Now. Steve Luthaker, who performed most of the lead guitar parts, brought along Toto’s Rosanna (fine, but a bit too long) and Africa (hard to take that song seriously, especially after seeing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3fxkhWZbx0 ). Less successful were Hamish Stuart’s numbers, but perhaps they were colored by my indifference to his Average White Band. Stuart played lead on his songs, physically swapping his bass guitar with Luthaker for them.
I feel special mention must be made of the sixth All-Starr, Warren Ham, who has toured with Ringo for years and also played with Toto and Kansas. Ham’s bio says he’s a saxophonist, and he did indeed blow a passable sax, but he also sang, played flute, bongos, tambourine, harmonica, and a little organ, often performing multiple roles on various numbers.
It was a fun show and fun to see at the Beacon Theater (which is quite near my house), and if Ringo comes back this way I’ll probably see him again.
Setlist for the show I saw is here: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/ringo-starr-and-his-all-starr-band/2022/beacon-theatre-new-york-ny-4bb4d3e2.html