Ringo Starr brings peace and love to The Met, with a little help from his All-Starr friends

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Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

The one and only Ringo Starr took The Met stage last night alongside his All-Starr Band. The venue swelled with peace and love as the former Beatle and his talented, well-résuméd friends worked through classic after classic, covering decades of hits. “All I can promise is that each and every person in the audience will know at least one song tonight,” Ringo said before the band got grooving, evoking a roaring applause with his signature double peace sign. I think it’s safe to say that everyone knew a lot more than just one song.

Let’s start with last night’s All-Starr lineup. On electric guitar was Toto’s Steve Lukather and Men at Work’s Colin Hay. Santana’s Gregg Rolie played keys, David Lee Roth’s Gregg Bissonette was on drums, The Ham Brothers’ Warren Ham on sax, flute, and percussion, and the Average White Band’s Hamish Stuart on bass. Each member has been touring consistently with Ringo for some time now, except for Stuart. He was a member of the band in the early aughts and has just returned as an All-Starr alum at the start of this year’s tour.

Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

The coolest thing about Ringo’s All-Starr band is that— yes, he’s Ringo Starr, but— it isn’t entirely about him. Of course, people buy the tickets to see Ringo, but upon actually attending the concert, they get so much more than that. Here’s six extremely accomplished musicians with six completely different backgrounds, joining forces and creating a diverse yet consistently energetic setlist. It’s essentially a bunch of concerts, all rolled into one.

Instead of introducing his whole band at once, Ringo handed the lead off to one member at a time, letting each of them introduce the songs from their own bands and allowing for an exciting and dynamic show.

Ringo was switching from behind his drum set and upfront on vocals all night, leaving the stage about half way through the show for what he calls a “magical musical moment.” Translation: he let the All-Starr band jam on Average White Band’s “Cut the Cake” and Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” while he took a break to change out of a red blazer and into a flannel. Still, Ringo’s break showcased Lukather’s shredding, Bissonette’s solo rolls, and Ham’s insane sax riffs even more.

Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

The band played 24 songs total, combining a healthy mix of covers from each of the members’ bands, the Beatles, and Ringo Starr himself. The crowd went while for classics like “Work to Do,” “Africa,” and “Who Can it be Now?,” but The Beatles songs were still most popular with the audience, of course. All the tunes that highlighted Ringo’s amiable vocals in the 1960s and 70s were covered: “Boys,” “Don’t Pass Me By,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

Ringo and his All-Starr Band concluded their Met visit with “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which Ringo prefaced by saying to his band, “I’m going to jump right into this one. If they don’t know it, they’re in the wrong venue.” He left the stage before the song was finished, and the band slipped into the Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace a Chance”. Ringo ran back out on stage to join them, and— after throwing up a few more peace signs for the crowd— departed the stage with his All-Starr bandmates. Even at 79 years old, he’s still got it.

Setlist

  1. Matchbox
  2. It Don’t Come Easy
  3. What Goes On
  4. Evil Ways
  5. Rosanna
  6. Pick Up the Pieces
  7. Down Under
  8. Boys
  9. Don’t Pass Me By
  10. Yellow Submarine
  11. Cut the Cake
  12. Black Magic Woman
  13. You’re Sixteen
  14. Anthem
  15. Overkill
  16. Africa
  17. Work to Do
  18. Oye Como Va
  19. I Wanna Be Your Man
  20. Who Can It Be Now?
  21. Hold the Line
  22. Photograph
  23. Act Naturally
  24. With a Little Help From My Friends
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