Monday 13 June 2016


One of Ringo's best-known songs with the Beatles, one he sang as fictional performer Billy Shears, includes the line "I get by with a little help from my friends."
The drummer took that lyric to heart when forming Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band more than 25 years ago.Now in its 12th iteration, the collective brought Beatles and Starr staples, and quite a bit more to an all-but-sold-out Reading Eagle Theater at Santander Arena on Sunday.


Ringo frequently flashed peace signs with both hands, and drove home the message with a sparkly peace symbol on his T-shirt. He's 75, but remains sprightly and humorous."A long time ago, in days of olde - sounds like I'm talking about the hobbits - I was in this band and there's one song written by Lennon, McCartney and Starkey," Ringo said before the Beatles country romp "What Goes On." "I don't know about you but I think the names are in the wrong order."

Along with his Lennon-McCartney vocals, Ringo performed songs the Beatles covered that featured him on lead, including the Shirelles' "Boys" and Carl Perkins' rockabilly "Matchbox," which kicked off the two-hour show.Among Ringo's bandmates in the septet were Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie,Steve Lukather and Richard Page.


"You may have sensed that we have a certain affinity for each other onstage," Rundgren said. "We've been doing this for over four years now. We're now to our fifth year, longer than some marriages, and that's because it's based on love and respect."Each of the above quartet was allotted three songs throughout the 25-song set. 

Considering the musicians' pedigrees, almost all of them were big hits from the '60s through the '80s, Santana's "Evil Ways" and "Oye Como Va," Toto's "Africa" and "Hold the Line," Rundgren's "Bang the Drum All Day" and "I Saw the Light," and Mr. Mister's "Kyrie" and "Broken Wings" among them.The group has developed a strong rapport, and it flexed its musical muscles during the non-Ringo songs. Lukather especially tore it up during extended renditions of Toto's "Rosanna" and Santana's "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen," the latter the only song not including Starr on drums or vocals.


"Don't Pass Me By," Ringo's other solo composition for the Fab Four, made an appearance."When I wrote the words 'you were in a car crash and you lost your hair,' I thought, Lennon and McCartney, watch out," he joked. "Coming through."The crowd was strong, and it did not go unnoticed."Look, you're all still standing," Rundgren said. "Usually we have to talk people into standing at the show." "With a Little Help from My Friends" was the ostensible show-closer, featuring loud participation from the crowd. It was followed by brief run-through of the 1969 Plastic Ono Band song  "Give Peace a Chance."

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