Wednesday, October 28, 2015
It was certainly an amazing evening that we experienced at Heinz Hall last night to see Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band perform for two hours of fantastic rock and roll music.
The former Beatle has been touring with his All-Starr Band in one incarnation or another since 1989, and the current six man crew has been with Starr for the last three years. The band includes such standard '70's and '80's era rockers as Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie of Santana, Steve Lukather of Toto, and Richard Page of Mr. Mister. Each of these gents had their turns performing well known songs of theirs, and you got the feel that this was not just a concert for the public, but just a bunch of terrific musicians getting together to have a kick-ass jam session. These guys love what they do, they're good at it, and it really shows.
But the guy that everyone came to see was Starr, and he did not disappoint. You really are seeing Rock & Roll Royalty when you see Ringo Starr perform in person. As Scott Mervis put it in his Post-Gazette review today, about the time that Starr led the band, and the audience in a rousing version of a certain song, it is the time when you in the audience start thinking, "Wow, that's Ringo Starr doing 'Yellow Submarine' right there."
As most people know, Starr was the oldest of the four Beatles. He is 75 years old now and you would never know it by watching him perform. He looks fit and trim, moves like a guy at least twenty years younger, and obviously loves his work. Only four people ever knew what it was truly like to be a part of the greatest rock and roll phenomenon ever, and only two are still with us, but Ringo comes across as a really regular guy. He's just a musician and singer who loves to perform, knows what his audience wants, and he gives it to them along with his constant message of "Peace and Love".
While all of he band members were terrific, I have to comment on Todd Rundgren. To be honest with you, I couldn't tell you the last time I had a conscious thought about Todd Rundgren, but when he sang "I Saw the Light" it brought back a lot of nice memories. It was a hit in 1972, the time when Marilyn and I started dating. Need I say more? Rundgren is now 67 years old, has put on some weight, and wore some ridiculous psychedelic outfit (that's him, second from the right in photo below), but he never stopped moving on stage. He was terrific.
Ringo closed the show, not surprisingly, by doing "With a Little Help from My Friends". He took his final bow with his Band and left the stage, leaving only his six mates to take the final bow. I found that to be a remarkably humble and thoughtful gesture.
On a personal note, we had dinner before the show with friends Dan and Susan Bonk and John and Donna Sebastian, and sat with Dan and Susan during the show.
It was wonderful evening, and as we were saying goodnight, Susan commented that we should all consider this night as the perfect start to our Holiday Season. I couldn't have said it better.
(By the way, all the photos in this post are courtesy of Dan, who obviously has a better camera than I. My photos of the night didn't turn out nearly as well, nor did I think to take a selfie. Thank you, Dan,)