By BBC member Dr. Jennifer Sandi
Nashville, TN – September 24th 2023 was a big day for Ringo in Nashville. Before his scheduled concert with the All-Starrs even began that evening, Sir Ringo Starr became the first drummer to be inducted into “The Musicians Hall of Fame” and receive “The Joe Chambers Musicians Legacy award”. So proud was our favorite drummer, that when Ringo stepped on the iconic stage of the Ryman Auditorium that night, he had the medal he received at his induction around his neck, and he would wear it throughout the entire concert.
I have seen Ringo Starr with the All-Starrs twenty times since 1989, however this one was very special to me since I had an up-close and center seat. Ringo jumped up on stage and one would have never have guessed that he took a fall a few days earlier. (He fell running out from stage left, as he caught the carpet and face planted to the left of the guitar line). Shaken but not stirred, he jumped right up and immediately pointed to his medal for all to see as he launched right into Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox”. His amazing jacket lustered in the spotlight. As the band rallied around him, he continued with his big solo hit “It Don’t Come Easy” then right into “What Goes On”, the only Lennon-McCartney-Starkey credited song, as he let the audience know. I just glared at Ringo as he had already acknowledged me, being in his direct line of sight. I had a rhinestone shirt brightly displaying his autograph that he couldn’t miss. There were times I felt like Ringo was singing just to me.
My magical moment was set aside temporarily as each of the All-Starrs took turns singing there well known songs, from hits to impressive covers. Edgar Winter, with his psychedelic shirt on, talked the talk. I was impressed with every introduction he made that evening to his bandmates. He wanted us all to take a “Free Ride” as the band rocked the Ryman with Ringo right behind him pounding on the “kit” as he called it.
Long time All-Starr member Steve Lukather was up next with “Rosanna”. I could hear the whole house singing along. Hamish Stewart, who played in Paul and Linda’s 1989 band, was a great addition to the All-Starrs once again. I was fortunate enough to meet him at Beatlefest in the nineties after he toured with Paul. His bass jammed to the Average White Band tune “Pick Up the Pieces”. Next up Colin Hay a “Man at Work” took us “Down Under”, to where Paul will be touring soon enough. I felt like I was back in high school singing every word to every song as I continued to watch Ringo pound his Ludwig set right in front of me.
– Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band are: Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Edgar Winter, Warren Ham, Hamish Stuart and Gregg Bissonette – on the road currently
See a video of Ringo Starr on Miami Beach in 1984, put together by Joe Johnson who was there!
Ringo stayed on his drums as it was his turn to sing again. “Boys” was exciting to see live as it gave me a glimpse of what it must have been like when Ringo first performed the song in the 60s. “I’m the Greatest” sung by Ringo is one of my favorites of his. The composition by his friend John Lennon brought back to me memories of the very first time I saw Ringo and the All-Starrs at the Ryman Auditorium in 2012. It was Ringo’s birthday and I held up a sign that said, “Now You’re 72 – Let’s See You Boogaloo”. That sign ended up in the release of the DVD Ringo at the Ryman. All I could do was smile when Ringo sang, “Now I’m way over 32…”
Ringo had one song left in this short set. I think the band had other ideas of what to perform at that point. On drummer Gregg Bissonette’s prompt, they tried to sing The Beatles songs “I Feel Fine”, “Come Together” and “Ticket to Ride”. After multiple false starts with Ringo vetoing them all, he went with a crowd favorite, “Yellow Submarine”. I made it a point to turn around so Ringo could see the Yellow Submarine picture on the back of my satin jacket. Ringo bowed after the sing-along and announced he was relinquishing the stage to his band for two bonus numbers, while he took a break to “have his juice” as he exclaimed.
Hamish Stewart led the first jam with “Cut the Cake”. Edgar Winter wowed the crowd with his infamous “Frankenstein”, showing off that strap-on keyboard “guitar” of his. The All-Starrs performed all their hat tricks in the next few minutes of the show. Multi-talented artist Warren Ham supported all of the songs with numerous instruments as he and drummer Gregg Bissonette were spotlighted in this set of songs.
Ringo came back on stage refreshed and out of the shiny jacket, now sporting a flannel-looking shirt. A relatively new addition to the set list filled the auditorium as Ringo sang “Octopus’s Garden”. It was during that song that Ringo certainly made a connection with me. He sang the line “…no one there to tell us what to do…” He pointed straight at me, I subconsciously put both my hands on my heart and he just smiled at me. I’ll never forget that moment. Back up on the drums, Ringo pounded out “Back Off Boogaloo”. The crowd was just getting warmed up.
Another round-robin commenced with Colin Hay singing the Men at Work hit “Overkill”. Lukather then wowed the crowd with the massive Toto favorite, “Africa”. Hearing the song this time around was a little bittersweet for me as I recently lost my father and that was one of his favorite songs. I knew Dad was smiling at me that night as the song blared over the crowd. Hamish Stewart covered the Isley Brothers’ song “Work to Do”. We didn’t want the show to end by this point as everyone was on their feet rocking the house.
Ringo snuck in his memorable Beatles vocal “I Wanna Be Your Man.” I’ve seen him do that song so many times, and it was just like he performed it with his old band. Back to the All-Starrs, the band headed into the home stretch with Edgar Winter proudly singing “Johnny B Goode” from his Grammy award-winning album Brother Johnny. Colin Hay took his last turn singing another Men at Work hit, “Who Can It Be Now?” Colin proudly exclaimed it was 41 years ago that the song reached number one on the charts. He embellished the statement by saying it was the exact day and that Nashville was the first city to chart the song at number 1. “Wow!” I thought. Colin then smiled and backed down, saying he wasn’t as sure about the last two facts. The song was number one in October, 1982 on the Billboard Charts (I looked it up). Being a hard act to follow, Steve Lukather met the challenge singing another great hit by Toto, “Hold the Line”. Warren Ham impressed me with his versatility, assisting with singing the lyrics.
Ringo took center stage for the last time that night exclaiming he would love to take a photograph of all of us, a segue into “Photograph” of course! I always take this opportunity to hold up a photo I was fortunate to have with Ringo in 1997, thanks to my uncle and admission to an exclusive VIP party prior to Ringo’s show in Rosemont, Illinois. I was so close this time that I held up that photograph of the two of us on my phone. Ringo pointed right at it – he saw it. I smiled, feeling the happiest I could be. Nashville came to attention with Ringo’s rendition of “Act Naturally”. All Ringo was missing during this song was the cowboy hat.
As I could have predicted, the last song of the night was The Beatles song, “With a Little Help From My Friends”. Ringo did have a little help singing the song as musicians that happened to be in the neighborhood joined the band. Peter Frampton (All-Starr “alumni”) and Rodney Crowell (Ringo was on his recent Texas album) sang on the microphone with Steve Lukather. T-Bone Burnett (working with Ringo on EP releases) and Gary Burr (from The Roundheads) joined Colin Hay on the other side of the stage to sing along. It was magical. Ringo ran off and came back with that imfamous black towel of his. I missed catching it by two feet when he threw it into the crowd. The group was in full chorus singing “Give Peace a Chance”. With happy bows from the All-Starrs, I floated out of the Ryman Auditorium full of peace and love
RINGO STARR AND HIS ALL STARR BAND – SET LIST – Sept. 24, 2023
2. It Don’t Come Easy
3. What Goes On
4. Free Ride (Edgar)
5. Rosanna (Steve)
6. Pick Up The Pieces (Hamish)
7. Down Under (Colin)
9. I’m The Greatest
10. Yellow Submarine
11. Cut The Cake (Magical Musical Moment – Hamish)
12. Frankenstein (Magical Musical Moment – Edgar / Gregg)
13. Octopus’ Garden
14. Back Off Boogaloo
15. Overkill (Colin)
16. Africa (Steve)
17. Work To Do (Hamish)
18. I Wanna Be Your Man
19. Johnny B. Goode (Edgar)
20. Who Can It Be Now (Colin)
21. Hold The Line (Steve)
23. Act Naturally
24. With A Little Help From My Friends
25. Give Peace A Chance (reprise)
HERE ARE THE REST OF RINGO’S ALL STARR BAND DATES FOR THIS FALL:
“The joy for me about touring is playing live to an audience with The All Starr Band – so I’m always happy when we can add some more dates. See you in October”. Ringo.
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