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Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band @ The Potawatomi Bingo Casino

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jul. 15, 2008
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Ever the Beatle next door, Ringo Starr is modest enough to understand that, beloved as he may be, few fans actually want to sit through an entire set of his solo material. For the past two decades, he’s been touring with a clever acknowledgement of this: his All Starr Band, a rotating lineup of famous (or semi-famous) musicians who augment his shows with performances of their own hits. The grounded format lets Ringo sing a few charming, karaoke-casual songs, flash his trademark peace sign, then settle behind his familiar drum kit before the novelty of Ringo-as-frontman wears off.

  This year’s All Starr roster reads more like the cast of a VH1 celebreality show than a Super Bowl halftime show, but the players still brought some excellent songs to the table Wednesday night. Colin Hay sung several amiable Men at Work hits, Billy Squier did a couple of charged arena-rockers and even less-than-famous bassist Hamish Stuart claimed a highlight, leading a run-through of his Average White Band’s magnum funk opus “Pick Up the Pieces” with Edgar Winter on saxophone.

  Winter was a constant highlight. He did “Free Ride,” of course, but mostly he humbly abided by the collaborative spirit of the evening and played sideman, happily switching instruments as needed. He seemed to take particular glee doing the door-knock hand-claps and ’80s-pop sax lines of Men at Work’s “Who Can It Be Now?”

  Only soft-rocker Gary Wright killed the greatest-hits pacing of the show, doing a languid three songs—two of which, mind you, weren’t “Dream Weaver.” Winter, for comparison, only did two songs (unless his prog-rock epic “Frankenstein” counts twice). Winter didn’t even plug the album of new material he’d released literally just a day before the show, yet Wright felt the need to do a deep cut.

  Spry, lovable and Dorian Gray youthful, Ringo closed the show with a few more simple pleasures from his catalog and a sing-along of “Give Peace a Chance”—not to make any grand political statement about current wars, but simply because it’s a song audiences enjoy hearing.


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