I've never seen a Beatle.
I've been going to concerts for about 25 years now...seen in the area of 1000...had opportunities, (including actually winning tix to see Ringo at this very venue two years ago - but they couldn't make it over the Canadian border and had to cancel - Ringo apologized to all those who showed up two summers ago to find themselves Beatle-less) so this summer seemed right.
I also thought...what a great first concert this would be to bring my niece Abigail to. So it was settled.
As the show approached, I asked an awesome friend of mine if she and her son would like to go to...not only was there a yes, but her cool 12 year old son actually knew the name of Ringo's newest album ("Y Not") which easily 99% of the attendees at the show had never heard of (Ringo actually joked about this and seems to take it all in stride...he knows what the people want). So it was going to be an extra cool time until an ER/ICU stay put a top to that this week...so while I was quite bummed they could not attend, I did hear right before typing this that he is being moved out of ICU today...so we will have other concert adventures this summer for sure...
So the show...Saturday morning was BEAUTIFUL sunny and clear sky...until we hit the road in the late afternoon and it became majorly overcast...The 75 minute drive had us hitting a few light showers...luckily, overall, the rain was not an issue...there was very light drizzle here and there through out the show (actually starting the exact moment Ringo and band hit the stage precisely at 8pm - but quickly dissipating). Other than that, a great night for lawn seats at Bethel (of course, home of the Original Woodstock festival).
If you're wondering if the Beatles fans came out...this painted bus, parked 15 feet from us, should give an idea of the average attendee
So this was Ringo's 11th All Starr Band tour where he takes some musicians who each have a couple of hits...they all play the whole show together mixing all their hits up in one setlist...it's an excellent format and was very enjoyable...you literally know every song just about (Ringo threw in a couple of new ones, but they're so damn catchy that it seems as if they're old faves.)
As I said the show started precisely at 8pm (no opening act) and the band made up of Ringo, Rick Derringer, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Richard Page of Mister Mister, Wally Palman of The Romantics and drummer Gregg Bissonette (who I previously only knew from David Lee Roth's solo band in the 80's when he left Van Halen) came out playing "It Don't Come Easy." The song I was looking forward to hearing more than any other all night! Rock On Ringo!
Ringo stood at the mic and led the band through two more - Carl Perkins' "Honey Don't" and "Choose Love" - the title track of his 2005 Solo Album.
Ringo then introduces guitarist Rick Derringer who busted out his official Ohio state song "Hang On Sloopy" recorded 45 years ago(!) with his band at the time, The McCoys. It makes you realize how many CENTURIES of Musicianship are on the stage tonight (Ringo will be 70 next week - and let me tell you, that fella is in amazing voice and shape...he's was doing jumping jacks during the end of the show that tired me just watching!)
The crowd loves the singalong and Rick then introduces the VIP (In my not at all humble opinion) of the night - Edgar Winter. Edgar and Rick are so key to this band, especially Edgar with not only his own songs, but his keyboards and sax throughout the set. So Edgar lays out the crowd with "Free Ride." Such a great summer song (and always reminds me of the great film "Dazed and Confused" every time I hear it.)
Edgar then introduces Wally Palman of the Romantics. Wally, to my ears, is the let down of the night...I saw the Romantics about 7 years ago At Little Steven's Garagefest and they were okay...about the same here - just so so. We get the huge early 80's hit "Talking In Your Sleep", but his voice is very different than it was back in the day - It's still a toe tapper, but just doesn't have the original sound that all the other players tonight have kept. Edgar though, kills a mean sax solo in the middle that really saves the song for me...so fair enough.
Oh here's a picture of the stage...
So Wally says he wants to re-introduce his favorite drummer doing a song from his favorite band and Ringo comes back to the mic to rock out the Beatles classic "I Wanna Be Your Man" - Great Stuff!
Ringo then introduces Gary Wright who tells a story of his friend George Harrison and how George introduced him to Mid Eastern religion and philosophy from which he got the name for his biggest hit - "Dream Weaver" which he played. This was my chance for beer run and t-shirt run...If you like the song...it sounded great...I just have to say I've never liked this song...
It's about 8:45 at this point and I go to the beer tent and they tell me they've stopped selling beer?!?! Holy Shit Kids...wha???
But I go to another one where I spy a fella being handed a brew...I ask if they're still selling and they say yes...until 9:05...phew! I'll take TWO Shock Tops then please (I figured the show would be over by 10 anyway...but c'mon...they should give some warning!)
So Gary ends his tune - and the crowd loved it - and Richard Page is introduced and plays the Mr. Mister hit "Kyrie" which I've always loved...sounds great!
Ringo is back on mic and introduces a song off his new album called "The Other Side of Liverpool"...I have to say I get a kick out of the fact that the three recent solo songs Ringo played at this concert all have either Peace, Love or Liverpool in the title...Ringo knows the lyrical fields he plays well in for sure.
This leads into one of the big sing-alongs of the night "Yellow Submarine". I actually thought Ringo seemed bored playing this one - somewhat understandably considering he's had to do it for so long...but it was the only time I got that vibe from him or the band all night.
Next up a huge highlight...Edgar Winter does "Frankenstein!" Just awesome and funky and rockin...a nice long version and everyone is diggin it!
My niece by the way was rockin out to this one...her she is doing a whirling dervish while possessed by the music...
Ringo is back and does another song from his latest called "Peace Dream"....followed by 1972's "Back Off Boogaloo"
Now the show goes into overdrive...let's rock the hits...We get the other hit by the Romantics "What I like About You" (I dig it)...Rick Derringer's "Rock n Roll Hoochie Coo" (including a 3 or 4 minutes guitar solo - not within the song....a full on the rest of the band takes a break and Rick does a guitar solo - very 80's hairband-ish...but what the hell - it was a quickie)
Ringo back with "Boys" from his pre-Beatles days with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, then Gary Wright, who I forgot had another hit in 1976, with "Love Is Alive"
We get the other Mr. Mister hit at this point "Broken Wings" and then it's all Ringo.
"Photograph" into "Act Naturally" into "A Little Help From My Friends (with "Give Peace A Chance" outro).
And that is it...10pm...2 hours....no encore breaks - which comes as a bit of a suprise as some wonder where is "Octopus' Garden" and "You're Sixteen" which seem like HUGE setlist leave-outs. (not to mention "No No Song" "Oh My My" or "Only You" which were all top ten hits in the 70's...)
So there was a little grumbling in the crowd....but it was a nice solid two hours show...If he tours again next summer - I'll be there Mr. Starkey