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Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band

Earlier tonight, I had the distinct pleasure of catching Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band live at the Palace Theater in Albany, NY.

This year’s touring lineup featured Steve Lukather (Toto), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Gregg Rolie (Santana), Todd Rundgren and Gregg Bissonette on drums.

This was seriously one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a long time. Each member has written and recorded so much great music, and I love the whole concept of the band: jamming around on each other’s hits and then passing the hat back to Ringo for some Beatles love and solo tunes.

Greg Rolie brought some great Santana vibes early into the set with tunes like Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va.  Todd Rundgren played “Bang The Drum” (of course) and took the lead on a few other tunes that I wasn’t familiar with.

The standout moment came when Richard Page stepped up to belt out “Broken Wings” (Mr. Mister).  At 61 years old, this dude can still wail.  I was totally blown away, and the band nailed it as well.

Steve Lukather got the crowd on its feet with a little Toto (Hold The Line, Africa, Rosanna).  Aside from being a phenomenal guitarist, Lukather has some serious vocal chops.  I was glad to hear these tunes worked into the set.

Underneath it all, drummer Greg Bissonette was the glue holding it all together.  Dude handled a variety of styles, from 80’s synth pop, to R&B, to Latin funk and never missed a beat.  He’s the type of player that lets you sit back, listen, and think “Ahhh, OK. This guy gets it.”  His playing was a master class in taste, chops and feel. It’s obvious why this guy gets A TON of work.

But, of course, we were really all there to see the man himself, Ringo Starr.  At 70 years old, he MORE than delivered. I don’t know where this man gets his energy, but at one point during the show, he was literally doing jumping jacks on stage.  He radiated positive vibes, and everyone in the audience knew he was happy to be there.

After the obligatory “Yellow Submarine” early in the set, Ringo followed up with some Beatles classics (Boys, Don’t Pass Me By) and some early rock & roll and country-fried classics. Mixed in throughout the night were some newer tunes as well (Photograph, Wings).

To be expected, the band closed the night with “…A Little Help From My Friends.” Though I’ve heard that song done a million times at this point, I’ll admit it was awesome to hear it performed for the first time by the man himself.  Ringo then let the band jam while he exited the stage to towel off.  Just as the crowd was getting up to leave, the band jumped into “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon.  That was a really nice touch, and it brought Ringo back onstage for one last round.  A solid way to end the night, for sure.

I should mention – being here reminded me of how much I enjoy seeing shows at The Palace Theater. It’s been a while, but I’ll definitely be back again soon.

Peace and love,