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Las Ringo's Vegas
By Tee Eff

Wrapping up what is an unprecedented third leg of a world tour with his All Starr Band, Ringo Starr brought things full circle with two U.S. shows in Las Vegas November 22-23 at the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino Resort. Given the jam packed two day agenda, there wasn’t much time for Ringo to be hitting the tables.

On Friday (November 22), the news was dominated with 50th anniversary coverage of the JFK assassination and memorials taking place throughout the country. Far less coverage was given to the fact that it was also the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles second album With The Beatles, but that didn’t mean Ringo wasn’t in the news.

Our favorite drummer chose the Vegas stop to promote his new collector’s edition book Photograph with a two day public exhibit at the Palms, capitalizing on the publicity campaign around “the kids in the car”, duly named for a featured photo taken by Starr that is included in the book. Mainstream media, most notably USA Today, championed a campaign to identify the then-teenagers snapped by Ringo in 1964. Having identified the lot as students of Fair Lawn High School (let’s hear it for New Jersey!), a meeting was arranged between “the kids” (now in their late 60’s) and Ringo, who arranged a private meeting for them with the cast of the long-running Cirque du Soleil Beatles LOVE show.

That evening’s All Starr Band concert found the troupe in peak form, fresh off their early autumn jaunt through South America and Mexico (earlier in the year, the band visited the Pacific Rim, including shows in Australia, New Zealand and Japan). The set list was only slightly different than it was for the initial U.S. leg last summer, with “Honey Don’t” replacing “I’m The Greatest” (as was done on the Pacific Rim dates) and Gregg Rolie swapping out Santana’s “Everybody’s Everything” for “Oye Como Va” (a change made during the South American leg).

On Saturday (November 23), the Photograph exhibit was closed for about an hour for a private / press event with Ringo showing pictures from the book and posing with the “kids in the car”. The event itself was very brief (only about 20 minutes), with Ringo accompanied by Gregg Bissonette and Mark Rivera from the All Starr Band. In the evening, the “kids” were guests of honor at the LOVE show, while Ringo and the band performed the final show of the tour. All Starr Band alumnus Nils Lofgren (class of 1989 and 1992) joined in for the “With A Little Help From My Friends” / “Give Peace A Chance” finale.

It was easy to see why Ringo went out three times with this band. Having seen each and every All Starr tour since 1989, I can say with 100% certainty that this is the lineup that he seemed to have the most fun with. Yes, there have been bigger names, and bigger songs, along the way. But as a “band”, this ensemble totally gelled. Steve Lukather’s magical guitar solos on Gregg Rolie’s Santana tracks, and Mark Rivera taking the high vocals on Lukather’s Toto hits were just two of the many examples of how well the band members complemented each other. Check out the Ringo at the Ryman DVD for more examples, along with an unforgettable guest appearance from Joe Walsh. Definitely a stand out among the many All Starr CD and DVD releases from the past (can it be?) quarter century.

Talks are already underway for a 2014 All Starr outing. While it’s always interesting to see who falls into the mix, I wouldn’t mind a few holdovers from the 2012-13 ensemble. Ringo and Musical Director Rivera have their work cut out for them.

The BBC would like to report Tim Stout attended this concert and he had an extra ticket, alas, no takers from our humble Community and Tim offered, but essentially we received his excellent verbal review of this All Starr Band performance. A Big Beatle Brunch thanks goes out to Tom and Tim, although we question: Don't you think we should put these guys together for a BBC version of Siskel & Ebert? They got the cool handle.

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