Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band 30th Anniversary North American Tour
New York, NY
August 18, 2019
They say “It Don’t Come Easy” but Richard Starkey has a way of making it look easy. Especially when Starkey, aka Ringo Starr, has a little help from his friends, The All Starr Band, who are spending August of 2019 winding their way across North America and celebrating 30 years of making magic together.
Born in an inner city section of Liverpool to parents who were confectioners, Starr suffered through health issues and his parents’ divorce during his formative years. During an extended stay in a sanatorium as a teenager while battling tuberculosis, he was encouraged to join the hospital band and dabbled in percussion for the first time. He cut his teeth forming and playing with a few local bands like the Eddie Miles Band, Al Caldwell’s Texans and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes before landing in The Beatles. With a storied career as a Beatle as well as a solo artist, Starr has received numerous accolades including being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965, nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer for the Beatles performance in A Hard Day’s Night and an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for Let It Be. Starr was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2015, some 27 years after being inducted as a Beatle. In 2010, Starr received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located in front of the Capital Records building. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 2018 by Prince William.
With an enduring solo career that allowed him the opportunity to collaborate with the best in the business, Starr has a long list of friends to enlist in his All Starr Band. The lineup for the 2019 tour includes the megawatt talents of Toto’s guitarist Steve Lukather, Santana and Journey’s singer and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, Men at Work’s multi-instrument guru Colin Hay, Average White Band’s guitarist and bassist Hamish Stuart, David Lee Roth’s drummer Gregg Bissonette and prolific touring saxophonist Warren Ham.
A little over halfway through the twenty plus scheduled tour dates, Starr and company brought their special brand of magic to a sold out show at New York City’s Pier 17, a spectacular venue that is featured on a rooftop in lower Manhattan, nestled at the South Street Seaport. Set at one of the most recognizable and historic sites of the city, this former hub of finance, sea trade and printing also housed many of the oldest bars in the city, establishing the first 24 hour zone of Manhattan, garnering the nickname “the city that never sleeps.” Water surrounds this one and a half acre rooftop that boasts stunning views of all three of the East River bridges plus features like Governors Island, World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty.
Along with stellar views and the opportunity to experience live music under the stars comes the risk of inclement weather. A violent and fast moving burst of rain pushed the start time of the show back slightly from 7:30 to 8:15, giving the venue time to mop up puddles from the floor and wipe down seats to accommodate the VIP and general audience guests who eagerly anticipated one of the most talked about shows of the summer.
The sun had already set and the stage lights twinkled as the 79 year old Starr and his crew hit the stage. Moving like a man decades younger and clad in layers of black with a peace sign belt buckle, Starr flashed his vibrant smile and peace signs to his adoring fans. Huge video screens flanked the sides of the stage, providing a bird’s eye view for those in the back rows. Cell phones were held aloft to grab some video or stray photograph as hardcore fans came to worship at the altar of Starr.
Kicking off the set with “Matchbox” the All Starrs and their leader each had a chance to shine on a variety of songs that had history for the musicians sharing the stage. Equally at home behind the drum kit as he was brandishing a mic and singing to the fans, Starr owned the night. Audience interaction was key, with lots of singing along to the familiar music. Highlights included “What Goes On,” “ Yellow Submarine,” “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Don’t Pass Me By” from The Beatles catalog. Hay provided Men At Work hits “Down Under,” “Overkill” and “Who Can It Be Now?” Toto hits “Rosanna,” “Africa” and “Hold the Line” were represented as well as Santana favorites “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.” A raucous version of “With A Little Help From My Friends / Give Peace a Chance” brought the festivities to a cathartic end. The twenty plus song set left the audience singing as they exited the venue, thrilled and spent, thankful for the chance to attend such a thrilling evening.
Additional Article Contributions by Mike Perciaccante
Photos by Christine Connallon