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Let's hear it for Ringo!
The Tenth All Starr Band strikes a rich chord in Atlantic City

by Timothy Tilghman

Check out the Peace & Love caravan on the road this summer. Ringo Starr is touring with his Tenth All Starr Band featuring guitarist Colin Hay, guitarist Billy Squire, bassist Hamish Stuart, keyboardist Edgar Winter, keyboardist Gary Wright, and drummer Gregg Bissonette from Spinal Tap.

The All Starr Band appeared at the Etess Arena in the Trump Taj Mahal on Saturday, June 28, 2008. This grouping of rock musicians stands out as a superior line-up. Particularly drummer Bissonette who has added a discernible punch in the percussion after three All Starr tours featuring Sheila E. on the skins.

The All Starr formula works for Ringo as he has never been interested in carrying a complete concert by himself. He sings on stage, sings seated at the drums and has the opportunity to play drums with a cast of stellar musicians. The energetic drumming team of Starkey & Bissonette was audibly powerful.

Ringo's individual stage moments were decisively weightier with this exceptional unit. "What Goes On", a Fab original from 1965, was great to hear live in its improved arrangement. "Memphis In Your Mind", "Never Without You", "Choose Love", and "Photograph" were all outstanding Starr performances.

Each All Starr member has a turn at the microphone to sing in an alternating catalogue of hits and history. The first All Starr up was Billy Squire who sang a fierce take of "Lonely Is The Night". Edgar Winter rocked the Atlantic City audience with "Free Ride". Then, Colin Hay entertained the house with the familiar "Land Down Under".

Gary Wright and Hamish Stuart proved to be surprise attractions among the All Starrs. Wright spoke about a book of poems that the late George Harrison had shared with him, which inspired him to compose his hit single "Dreamweaver", truly a showcase performance. Billy Squire handled bass for Hamish Stuart on his semi-insturmental "Pick Up The Pieces", another stage favorite.

"Liverpool 8", the title track of Ringo's new disc, sounded entirely better live. Ringo made mention of his Peace & Love campaign for the Summer. On July 7, 2008, precisely at noon, Ringo wants anyone and everyone to stop what they're doing and say "Peace & Love" out loud. Think about peace then act on peace. All we need is love and understanding.

A new feature of this tenth All Starr tour was the inclusion of two solo spotlights during the concert. New Jersey enjoyed a rare bonus when Wright sang "Your Eyes" at the keyboards. Hay played acoustic guitar on "Overkill". During the instrumental "Frankenstein", Winter switched from the strap-on Keyboard to Saxophone and then traded percussion solos with Bissonette.

Major highlights of the 2008 All Starr tour included Stuart's superb vocal on "Work To Do". Wright's "Love Is Alive" was another exceedingly popular song. Ringo dusted off his catchy original "Oh My My", a Top Five hit single from 1973's Ringo album. It's only taken Ringo 10 All Starr tours to sing this deserving tune.

With the crowd up on their feet, Ringo stayed on stage to launch directly into his encore, the guaranteed crowd-pleaser "With A Little Help From My Friends" that eventually segued into the classic Lennon chorus "All we are saying, is give peace a chance". The All Starrs delivered an extended coda reprise of the chorus as Ringo exited early before the climatic conclusion.

Is there an Eleventh All Starr Band tour in the immediate future? Ringo Starr turns 68 on July 7th. Many British Invasion artists continue to tour and will hopefully decide to keep active into the next decade. The baby-boomer generation remains loyal to the soundtrack of their youth, having experienced Beatlemania firsthand. Until the next All Starr Band tour, peace and love.

Atlantic City setlist: It Don't Come Easy * What Goes On * Memphis In Your Mind * Lonely Is the Night - Billy * Free Ride - Edgar * Land Down Under - Colin * Dream Weaver - Gary * Boys * Pick Up the Pieces - Hamish * Liverpool 8 * Act Naturally * Yellow Submarine * Your Eyes - Gary * Overkill - Colin * Frankenstein - Edgar * Never Without You * Choose Love * The Stroke - Billy * Work To Do - Hamish * I Wanna Be Your Man * Love Is Alive - Gary * Who Can It Be Now - Colin * Photograph * Oh My My * With A Little Help From My Friends > Give Peace A Chance

RockonTour   Issue #82
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile 2008 RockonTour