Ringo and His All-Starr Band Bring the Fun in Concert

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Ringo & All Star Band promo pic

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band
Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater, Lincoln, NE
June 25, 2016
In A Word: Starry-Night

“Are you having fun?” Ringo Starr asked. “That’s what it’s all about.”

From all appearances, that’s what it was all about for Ringo and His All Starr Band as much as it was for the 3,500 fans who made their way to the tree-lined amphitheater in a city park Saturday night to see the 75-year-old Beatle make his first Lincoln, NE appearance ever.

Greeted with a roar when he bounced out onto the stage, Starr had the crowd in his hands from the start of “Matchbox” until he began to wrap the show up with “A Little Help from My Friends” just over two hours later.

Singing in front of the band, bouncing back and forth from one foot to another, Starr led a singalong to “Yellow Submarine,” showed he’s a rock‘n’roller on the Carl Perkins opener and went country – well, as close as he and the band are going to get – on “Act Naturally.”

Moving to the drum kit after the first three songs, Starr smiled and laughed while keeping the beat, clearly enjoying himself.

Ringo & All-Stars

So were the band members, especially guitarist Todd Rundgren, who, acting like a 68-year-old kid, kicked his left leg in time with some songs, went wandering along the front row of the audience during a solo, joked with the crowd during his song introductions and wound up on his back on the stage by the end of the show.

Related: Ringo announces fall 2016 tour dates at annual peace & love birthday event

Starr’s vocals were stronger and more effective than his last Nebraska appearance a couple of years ago. And he was absolutely engaging from the start, saying more to his “friends” in the first five minutes of the show than Bob Dylan did in the entirety of his show at the same venue four nights earlier.

Much of that patter came in the form of song introductions like this:

“I’m going to do a song I did with that other band I was in,” Starr said, then paused. “Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. I did it with Rory, that band you’re thinking of, and now I’m doing it with this band, because I’m the boss.”

The song was “Boys,” the Shirelles cover that was Ringo’s first lead vocal for The Beatles back in 1963.

But it wasn’t all Ringo repeating the same lines he says every night. At one point, he mimicked a dancer in the front row, while thanking her for coming to the show. Then, as fans called out queries as he was trying to introduce “You’re Sixteen,” he quipped “Shall we just do questions and answers and shout at each other? Stop the music.”

Related: Ringo Starr interview

Of course, the music didn’t stop.

In fact, the swinging version of “You’re Sixteen” was one of the highlights of the 24-song show that mixed Beatles songs that Starr sang and a few of his solo hits with songs that were hits for the All Starrs and their bands. That meant songs by Toto and Mr. Mister. Enough said there.  But also a trio of tunes from Rundgren, who put down the guitar to deliver the night’s most impassioned performance, singing “Love is the Answer.”

While the All Starrs were singing, Starr was at the drum kit, playing alongside Gregg Bissonette. But Starr wasn’t slacking and letting Bissonette do the work. Rather, he was, as he has been for decades, straight ahead and rock solid on, for example, “Oye Como Va,” the Tito Puente by way of Santana song led by keyboardist Gregg Rolie (formerly of and recently back with Santana) and its follow-up, a fast, rockin’ version of “I Want to Be Your Man.”

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By the end of the steamy night, a gentle rain was falling as the crowd sang along with “Give Peace a Chance,” the wrap-up of a show that saw Starr have as much fun as the audience – all leaving the amphitheater elated.

L. Kent Wolgamott

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