All photos: Clayton Taylor
Sir Richard Starkey came to Rogers to talk about his old band and play a few of their songs. He mentioned his old band about midway through the proceedings of his Sunday night concert at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion. Sure enough, he offered one of the songs that band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, played during their setlists in the early 1960s – a cover of “Boys” by The Shirelles. You might say the song was his Starr turn.
That’s because Rory Storm and the Hurricanes isn’t the band 5,000 or so came to reminisce about, and Sir Richard Starkey is far too goofy to be called ‘Sir’ by anyone except perhaps Prince William, who bestowed knighthood on Starr earlier this year. Asked what he’d do with the medal, Starkey joked to the BBC that he’d wear it to breakfasts.
Next at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
What: Alan Jackson’s Honky Tonk Highway Tour
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22
Where: Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers
Cost: Starting at $46.75 plus fees
Tickets: 479-443-5600 or visit arkansasmusicpavilion.com for information.
The members of the other band Starkey performed with could all be reduced to a single adjective to describe them. Paul McCartney was the ‘cute’ Beatle. John Lennon was the ‘thoughtful’ Beatle. George Harrison was the ‘best’ Beatle. (I know I’m right about this. Fight me.)
And that leaves us Richard Starkey, the ‘silly’ Beatle, who we all know by the stage name Ringo Starr. It was of course Starr and his All Starr Band that visited to the AMP on Sunday. It’s not every day we get a Beatle in our backyard, and it’s a celebration when it happens.
Ringo has often been on the losing end of jokes over the years, and his playing and singing have been criticized for as long as music critics have been listening to The Beatles.
But I’m of the firm belief that Ringo is in on the joke. He knows his role, and he’s proud of it and what he’s accomplished since. With a wink in his eye and a goofy joke always at the ready, he and his All Starr Band (get it? Starr with two ‘R’s, just like his name?) charged through a tidy 24-song setlist. Credit is due for rounding up pretty impressive cast of bandmates for this version of the touring group. Joining him for this run of dates is guitarist Steve Lukather from Toto, guitarist and vocalist Colin Hay from Australian rockers Men at Work, keyboardist and original Santana lead vocalist Gregg Rolie and bass player/vocalist Graham Gouldman of the British band 10cc. Rounding out the cast is multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham, who has played with Kansas, Toto and Donna Summer; and Gregg Bissonette, who drums for several bands, including the David Lee Roth band. Ringo had a kit onstage as well, and he drummed when he felt like it, but not for every song. He was off stage for a few tracks, and contributed only lead vocals for a few others.
Photo: Clayton Taylor
The format of the show worked a like a roundtable. The various members would take the lead for a song made popular by their original band, which meant we got to hear songs such as “Africa” and “Hold the Line,” originally by Toto; “Evil Ways” and “Oye Como Va” by Santana; and “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under” by Men at Work. Ringo was part of this rotation, too, and when his turn came around, he offered songs he performed while with The Beatles (such as “Yellow Submarine”) or one of his solo tracks, such as “It Don’t Come Easy.”
The result was a night filled with songs everyone in the audience knew well. It was a medium-sized crowd with medium energy. Last night was not a raucous affair, but it was pleasant.
There weren’t many surprises last night. The band played the same setlist they’ve been playing all tour. Ringo touted peace and love at every opportunity, which is his life’s mission, and he must have flashed a peace sign to the crowd for a full hour of the two-hour show. His performance is notable considering he’s 78 years old. His former bandmate Paul McCartney gets credit for his 3-hour performances and his health at his age, but I’m here to say that Ringo is likely in better shape. He ran up a set of stairs heading to his drum kit, and he ran off the stage at the end of the night. And he sang just like we know him to sing. Ringo was the least of the vocalists in the Beatles. He’s the least of the instrumentalists in the Beatles. But he helped propel them to stardom, too, and he was the right fit.
Photo: Clayton Taylor
Particularly because he’s still in on the joke, all these years later. Ringo is – and always will be – Ringo.
He closed the night with the biggest of the tracks he sang with the Beatles, the Sgt. Pepper’s-era cut “With a Little Help from my Friends.”
It contains the following lyrics: “What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?”
If someone did last night, I didn’t see it happen.