By Sheryl Aronson
Here’s my theory. The Baby Boomers’ rallying cries were: rock’n roll…peace and love…inclusiveness…so many of us are still youthful (in physical appearance, emotionally, spiritually, and in our hearts) because of these factors. With a little help from his friends, on Thursday evening October 20th, Ringo Starr and The All-Starr Band showed the audience at the Segerstrom Theater in Costa Mesa, that the Baby Boomers’ Generation of musicians could throttle the music. I felt like I was back in the 1970’s, dancing the night away to the classic hits from that era of time.
Ringo pounded on those drums like an athlete: powerful, magnetic, forcible. Thousands of fans jammed, swayed and sang all night long… the average age seemed to be 50 and above. The Hollywood 360 had center row seats, half way back from the stage in the orchestra… the crazy hydro-electric guitar licks, the sonic sounding drumming, the bluesy wailing sax, the wild whirring chords of the organ, the blasting one hit tune after the other, ambushed my senses.
I was also taking notes for my article, dancing to the music, and thoroughly feeling a natural high that manifests when I connect artistically, spiritually, and joyfully at a superb concert.
Ringo bounced onstage when introduced, swinging his arms in the air with fingers forming the peace sign. He dressed in black from head to toe, except for the sparkling ice blue background that held a silver and red star on his tee shirt, cool shades rested on his nose, a finely trimmed goatee and a huge smile lit up his face… this iconic rock star radiated peace and love.
“Let’s have some fun,” he energized the audience immediately. Not a moment to lose, the audience stood up and began dancing to the three songs, “Matchbox,” “It Don’t Come Easy,” and “What Goes On.” My fingers snapped away shooting pics quickly, not wanting to miss any of the action onstage. Ringo then scurried off after finishing the three numbers, and the All-Starr band of Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Warren Hamm and Greg Bissonette ripped open a ferocious ride of rocking out.
Gregg Rolie, founding member of Santana’s band and whose voice was originally heard on “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman” revamped his vocals and mesmerizing organ dervish whirlings as he sang, “Evil Ways” to the thousands of partying fans. When Steve Lukather, former guitarist/vocalist of Toto, performed “Rosanna” Ringo came back onstage and joined Greg Bissonette to romp on the drums. Lukather’s guitar virtuoso shined throughout the song with running electric licks up and down the strings, as the rest of the electrifying band followed. Ringo Starr and Greg Bissonette then delivered the goods on the drums with tremendous spirit and bravado. Pure motor driving energy rocked the house.
The mood softened slightly as Richard Page, former vocalist/guitarist of Mr. Mister, added a smooth folksy rock sound with his rendition of “Kyrie” and was backed up by superb layering of harmonies from the rest of the band. Ringo bopped out in his indelible voice, “Yellow Submarine” which sailed along with a lively, playful feel. The set ended with “Black Magic Woman” the climatic build was insanely wild and propulsive, featuring all the guitar players’ speed of light licks. The audience was thrown back in time to drug induced highs, Vietnam War Protests, bell bottoms, free love, PEACE signs…Wow!
At least I was.
Throughout the performance I thoroughly enjoyed Todd Rundgren prancing around the stage while throwing his guitar in every direction. A true rocker. His long black sun streaked hair flowed around him as he displayed deft guitar fingering. When he belted out his classic Anthem, “Love Is the Answer,” Rundgren poured his heart and soul into the performance.
All night long, Greg Bisonnette never left his position behind the drums, and walloped the skins with hyper-kinetic rhythmic chops.
Other celebrated moments were the band’s gorgeous lush music of “Africa,” as images of wild animals running along the bush came to mind. The crowd easily sang the chorus along with Steve Lukather.
When Ringo headed into his three song finale beginning with “Photograph,” he kidded with the fans and said, “You’re looking so good, I wish I had a big camera to take a photograph.” Warren Hamm wailed on his sax during the song, as the rest of the band freely bounced along. The melodies rolled into “Act Naturally” as everyone was up dancing and singing along with the recognizable lyrics.
With psychedelic lighting, peace signs, flower power symbols and thousands of ecstatically happy fans rocking the night away, Ringo drove the music to a pinnacle by encapsulating the whole experience with the hit Beatle tune, “Little Help from My Friends.”
Before leaving the stage for the last time, Ringo Starr reminded everyone, “Remember Peace and Love is all there is.” The 76year old legendary Beatle resembled a young man just beginning his career. He zipped off the stage and the All-Starrs closed the show with “Give Peace a Chance.”
Ringo Starr, with a little help from his friends, (The All-Starr Band) made all of us feel forever young.
Photo and Video Credit: Sheryl Aronson and Linita Masters / The Hollywood 360