On Wednesday, September 27th, Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band played Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA. This amazing show began with a well-deserved standing ovation before any music was played. Sir Ringo Starr came onstage, met with more roaring applause. The All Starr Band started with the bluesy tune “Matchbox” on which keyboardist Edgar Winter played a piano solo. Gregg Bissonnette played drums while Starr was the front man. Starr assured the audience, “Everyone in this room will know at least two songs played tonight, especially this one ‘cause ‘It Don’t Come Easy’”. Warren Ham and Steve Lukather of Toto played a unison solo. The distorted guitar coupled with the woody, reedy sax created a very distinct sound combo that was unlike anything I’ve heard at any other show.
On Winter’s hit “Free Ride”, he picked up a large keyboard with a strap attached to it, akin to a guitar strap. Winter claimed he was the first to do that. The All Starr Band played the Toto hit “Rosanna” with Lukather on lead vocals and lead guitar while Ham sang the high vocal parts, played sax, had a harmonica solo, and played hand drums and auxiliary percussion, leaving no one questioning why he is an All Starr! Later in the song, Winter played a cascading, waterfall-like keyboard part which led into a solo from Lukather on guitar. Next, Lukather introduced Hamish Stuart of Average White Band. The band began playing their hit “Pick Up The Pieces” which featured the two sax players, Winter and Ham, who played together as well as traded solos. Lukather covered the bass while Stuart played guitar. This band switched instruments like it’s nothing!
Colin Hay of Men At Work told a comedic story about someone he met in the elevator just before the show, before leading into his band’s famous tune “Down Under” where Ham played yet another instrument, the flute, a key part to the tune.
Attention was brought back to Starr, who had played drums through every song after the first three. He said, “Here’s a tune that I played with that band that you all know called ‘Boys’”. Later on, they played “Yellow Submarine” where the second drummer, Bissonnette, played a trumpet solo then swiftly switched back to drums, showing that this band of seven can do it all!
Starr took a break, leaving the stage for two songs. Winter used some abundant alliteration to compliment his bandmates. Then a stage crew member gave him his keyboard with the strap for “Frankenstein”, the big instrumental hit from The Edgar Winter Group where Winter played keyboard, saxophone and short drums in the front. He and Bissonnette dueled with drums. Nearing the end of the song, Bissonnette soloed many well-known rock songs, from Led Zeppelin, to Van Halen, to the Beatles, to Rush. After the drum jam, Winter moved back into “Frankenstein” and its synthesizer solo. Then the song ended with Winter swinging his keyboard left and right into the front row audience like a guitar.
“Octopus’s Garden” was played with great, lush, intricate back up harmonies by nearly everyone. Toto’s “Africa” featured Ham on congas along with Bissonnette and Ringo drumming out the great rhythms, and was wonderfully presented.
A cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” was delivered with a heavier guitar and more hard rock feel with Winter on lead vocals.
Lukather does a modified duck walk, paying tribute to Berry. On “Who Can It Be Now”, Ham delivers a perfect, raspy growl on his tenor sax. Hay’s vocals were spot on. “Hold The Line” from Toto featured a wailing, near ‘face melting’ guitar solo from Lukather.
Ringo then fronted the stage again, starting with his solo hit “Photograph” where Ham played the main guitar line on tenor sax which gave the song a show tune vibe. The finale of the show included “Act Naturally”, the sing along “With a Little Help From My Friends”, and finally a chorus of “Give Peace a Chance”.
The whole show was hit after hit from The Beatles, Ringo’s solo career, Toto, Men At Work, The Edgar Winter Group and The Average White Band. The energy throughout the show was astounding, with the audience marveling at the band who individually are truly All Starrs but together are greater than the sum of their parts, which is massive!