By Ken Paulson
Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band (PJ Paulson)
–I was surprised to run into Felix Cavaliere in the lobby of Ringo Starr’s concert at Nashville’s Ryman
Auditorium last night.
What were the odds, I thought, of coming across one of Ringo’s All-Starr Band alums at one of his shows?
Pretty good, it turns out. By evening’s end, the stage boasted three former All-Stars, including Joe Walsh (“Class of ’89,” he announced), Richard Marx and Cavaliere, plus former Roundhead Gary Burr.
It was all hands on deck for Ringo’s 72nd birthday. This was a special performance, in part because of the day, in part because of the storied venue and in part because the show was recorded on video. Ringo was energetic and entertaining throughout.
He opened the show with “Matchbox,” the Carl Perkins song that became a top 20 record for the Beatles. The band has been performing the song on this tour, but no place more appropriate than in Nashville, miles down the road from Perkins’ hometown of Jackson.
Ringo did many of the songs he’s performed on past tours, including the well-worn “Boys” and “I Wanna Be Your Man” and the relatively fresh “Don’t Pass Me By.” His takes on “Photograph” (co-written with George Harrison) and “I’m the Greatest” (written by John Lennon) were highlights, as always. The latter had a brand-new lyric: “Now I’m Only 72 and all I want to do is boogaloo.”
This year’s All-Starr Band includes Steve Lukather of Toto, Gregg Rolie of Journey and Santana, Richard Page of Mr. Mister, Todd Rundgren, Mark Rivera and Gregg Bissonette.
Rolie was a particularly pleasant surprise, reprising his vocals on three classic Santana songs “Evil Ways,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Everybody’s Everything.” Lukather contributed sizzling guitar solos.
Rundgren was also impressive, with “I Saw the Light,” “Bang the Drum All Day” and a particularly powerful take on “Love is the Answer.”
Joe Walsh, Ringo’s orther-in-law, dropped in to do “Rocky Mountain Way,” delivering the hardest rock of the evening and electrifying the audience.
The evening ended with a sing-along to “A Little Help From My Friends,” with Nashville ‘friends’ Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Brendan Benson and Kix Brooks among those joining in.
Happy birthday, Ringo. And may there be many more.
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