OK, in my defence, I had been following the latest All-Star Band tour details from Ringo’s site, and the LAST DAY of his 2015 tour was supposed to be at the Palms in Vegas, which is why we decided to go catch it there. I’ve missed him before, most recently in Calgary a few years ago, and I wasn’t about to miss out again.

Two days after we get back to Alberta, dates are announced for Edmonton, and…freakin’ Calgary – go figure?

Well, who knew?

I had approached his publicist to try and line up a brief interview while I was there, but no response. I’ve got a broader piece for my Calgary Herald blog, reflecting on his first solo release post-Beatles, and his upcoming Postcards From Paradise.

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Ringo Starr, the only other surviving Beatle I had yet to see perform live, and man, he did not disappoint, not even one iota. An amazing show – actually a bit like going to a festival of sorts, with his All-Starr Band bringing together a stellar lineup of classic rockers and artists I would have happily seen otherwise. Todd Rundgren, Santana co-founder Gregg Rolie, Toto’s Steve Lukather, Mr Mister’s Richard Page, Gregg Bissonette & Warren Ham – each getting to showcase several of their own biggest hits alongside Starr’s catalogue from the past 40+ years – astounding!

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The setlist is available online, but the show itself clocked in around 2.5 hours – Ringo only snuck off during one song, the rest of the time he was singing himself, or drumming along to classic rock hits like Evil Ways, Africa, Love Is The Answer, Hold The Line and so many more.

From his own library (as well as from his time with The Beatles and Rory Storm & The Hurricanes) we were treated to It Don’t Come Easy, Boys, Honey Don’t, and the rousing singalong Yellow Submarine.

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For a longtime fan, you couldn’t complain, let alone coming away with the added bonus of some of the biggest hits of the 70’s and 80’s from the original artists. Pretty darn cool by any standard.

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Steve Lukather was killer on guitar riffs and his own hits with Toto – Africa, Rosanna and Hold The Line. In our VIP box we had a group of young fans that were really getting into the show themselves, and towards the end one of the guys confided that his one friend there was Lukather’s daughter.

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Gregg Rolie was at the top of his game on hits from Santana, where he was the original vocalist – Evil Ways, Black Magic Woman, and Oye Como Va – a big part of my teen years’ listening!

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We had also missed Todd Rundgren when he was here in Calgary a couple of years ago, but he did some fine work on I Saw The Light, Bang The Drum All Day and Utopia’s Love Is The Answer

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I’ve read reviews that griped about Mr. Mister’s Richard Page being part of this ensemble, but he was terrific, and it was fun to hear Broken Wings, Kyrie, and a more recent solo track, You’re Mine. Kudos also to Warren Hamm and Gregg Bissonette!

 

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It may have been a long wait, but the show was unreal and surreal. Big part of my musical history came alive. Thanks Ringo – I’ll have a broader piece soon to link to…

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