With a Little Help From My Friends...
The day after Ringo's sixty-eighth birthday Felicia and I were fortunate enough to have tickets for his performance at the Fraze Pavillion in Kettering, Ohio. Little did we know that we were about to enjoy one of the finest evening's of music we've ever experienced. Ringo's All-Starr band included an amazing array of talent including, Edgar Winter, Colin Hay, (Former frontman for Men at Work) Billy Squier, Gary Wright, Hammish Stuart (Yes, from the Average White Band!) and Gregg Bissonette (He's worked with almost everyone including Carlos Santana.). Each of these talented musicians is a recognized star in their own right, but together they proved a stellar group of performers.
The evening began with Ringo Starr walking out on stage flashing peace signs and smiling as the crowd rose to it's collective feet cheering wildly. He proceeded to belt out a solid rendition of "It Don't Come Easy" and no one sat down for the rest of the nearly three hour performance. It wasn't long before Ringo commented, "This place is wild. Either that or the bar has been open all day.". Soon he was seated behind his familiar set of elevated drums and for the rest of the evening it was a non-stop parade of great performers rocking down the house.
Edgar Winter laid down a show stopping version of "Frankenstein". Gary Wright awed the crowd with a cosmic version of "Dream Weaver". Colin Hay brought everyone in the neighborhood of the show to their feet with a romping stomping version of "Down Under". Hammish Stuart led the band in a fast and funky trip down memory lane with the instrumental song "Pick Up the Pieces". The entire evening was one great hit after another and the crowd loved every minute of it. Billy Squier proved himself an accomplished guitar player with a rocking version of "Lonely is the Night".
Felicia and I have now seen both of the remaining Beatles. As much as I enjoyed an evening with Paul McCartney I have to confess that I enjoyed my time with Ringo Starr even more. Don't get me wrong, I loved watching Paul McCartney perform Beatle songs and hits from his own catalog of great music. Ringo Starr however was more a celebration of great music from everyone in the business and the joy of collecting talented musicians together and doing what they do best, playing music and sharing a good time with an appreciative audience. It was a very special show.
As the evening began to wind down and the show began moving towards it's inevitable conclusion Ringo Starr looked out at the audience and said, "This is where we'd normally run to a dark corner of the stage and wait for your cheers to bring us back out. Tonight, you know we're coming back out and we know we're coming back out so we're just going to stay right here and do a few more numbers.". Yeah, we all just went crazy... Then he broke into, "A Little Help From my Friends" and the house truly came down. As Ringo Starr finished his final bows and walked off the stage flashing the same peace signs he started the evening with the band broke into John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" and we all joined in singing and waving peace signs of our own. It was a wonderful finish to a grand evening of entertainment. If you ever get the chance to attend an evening with Ringo and his All-Starr band don't let the opportunity get away from you. I promise you won't regret it. This will go down as one of the very best shows I've ever seen, and I've seen some of the greats in their prime. Ringo Starr rocked!