Ringo Starr rocks Vina Robles at sold out show
– Ringo Starr took Paso Robles by storm and accompanied by his All-Starr Band rocked the Vina Robles Amphitheater in a sold out concert on Saturday.
This being the first performance by the former Beatle in Paso Robles, the crowd stood up and gave a rousing cheer as the sprightly singer/drummer sprinted on a stage decked with a backdrop of a crescent moon and stars.
Dressed in black and dark shades, the 75-year old looked fit and youthful. It must be the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle!
“You can tell you’re in the wine country, everybody’s drunk,” he joked with the enthusiastic audience. Despite his concern, this was an extremely well-behaved crowd that ran the gamut from people nearly as old as him to youngsters falling asleep in parents’ arms. There were, however, aromas of cannabis wafting in the air.
Starr was joined on stage by Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather of the band Toto, Richard Page from the band Mr. Mister, all jamming on their guitars, Gregg Rolle of the bands Santana and Journey on keyboard and drummer Gregg Bissonette.
The two-hour concert that started promptly at 8 p.m. was a melange of vintage 1960s and 1970s nostalgia accented by Latin rhythms.
“We don’t do this every night and it don’t come easy,” said Starr as a segue into “It Don’t Come Easy,” a song he wrote in his solo career. Other number from Starr’s solo career included “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen,” a song he kicked off with by asking the crowd, “Any young girls here?” (For the record, an enthusiastic response came from an elastic range of age groups.)
Starr launched into other Beatles favorites – “I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends,” Don’t Pass Me By,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” Act Naturally” and “Yellow Submarine,” that the crowd joined in a sing-along.
In his one reference to former bandmates, he introduced the John Lennon-penned song, “I’m the Greatest,” with a brief “My buddy, he’s in heaven now. God bless his soul.”
After delivering his opening numbers, Starr took to his drums as other band members took over to perform their hits.
Starr introduced Rundgren as “the incredibly well-dressed Todd” who sported a bright T-shirt emblazoned with a larger-than-life image of Ringo with Starr written in bold letters. Rundgren enthralled the crowd with his lilting hits “In Your Eyes” and “Love is the Answer.”
Rolle on keyboard sang such popular numbers from Santana albums as “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman,” the latter ending with a killer drum set by Bissonette.
Lukather, who sang the popular 1970s hits “Rosanna” and “Africa” acknowledged Starr as his “boss” and added, “He and his mates changed my world.” The crowd sprung to its feet, tapping and dancing, when the entire band performed Tito Puente’s all-time dance-able hit “Oye Como Va.” The band also performed, “Anthem,” the Starr-penned ode to love and peace.
Richard Page of the band Mr. Mister rendered “Broken Wings” and the super hit “Kyrie,” during which the audience participated in a sing-along.
The event’s security staff diligently kept the crowds under control, but gave in as the concert came to a close and fans thronged to the front of the stage. Starr, who briefly disappeared to take his jacket off, returned in a black T-shirt and pants with a black towel around his neck. Ending with “Give Peace a Chance,” and raising his hands in a peace sign, he tossed the towel to the crowd.
So one lucky fan went home with a memento — a sweaty Ringo Starr towel!
Starr founded the band in 1989 with the concept to feature stars from other well-known bands. The band line-up functions in a constant rotation depending on musicians’ availability.
“We’ve been doing this for 25 years with many bands,” Starr told the crowd.
“But we’ve finally achieved with this band.” Over the years, the All-Starr band has included members from such rockstar bands as Eagles, The Who, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Cream and Procol Harum.
But the current All-Starr band is the one he doesn’t want to stop playing with. As soon as the band’s spring 2015 tour ended, Starr planned a second coast-to-coast tour this year across North America that kicked off Oct. 1 and will end on the 31.
In addition to his music tours, Starr has been busy promoting his photography book, “Photograph,” a collection of mementos from his archives, sharing memories of his childhood and his years with The Beatles – capturing through his lens pensive and playful moments of his bandmates. Earlier this year, the former Beatle was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received the Award for Musical Excellence.