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Concert Reviews:
Ringo and his All-Starrs shine at Caesars Windsor
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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WINDSOR -- Thirty years and 15 All-Starr Band lineups later, Ringo Starr is still getting by with a little help from his friends. And still doing it in fine fashion.

The Beatles drummer and his latest crew of All-Starrs kicked off the latest North American leg of his 30th anniversary celebration Thursday night, Aug. 1, at the Colosseum in Caesars Windsor, doing exactly what Starr and his pals have done the past three decades -- delivering a flesh-and-blood jukebox of classic rock hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s, and having as much fun doing it on stage as the audience was having in the seats.

This All-Starr Band planted its flag in both the present and the recent past, with longtime members Steve Lukather (Toto) and Greg Rolie (Santana, Journey), each with seven years' service, joined by Men At Work's Colin Hay, who signed on last year, and Average White Band and Paul McCartney alumnus Hamish Stuart, returning for the first time since 2008. They surrounded Starr's own combination of Beatles and solo favorites with their own during the 24-song, show, making sure the night never went too long without something the crowd knew and loved.

Any random needle drop during the two hours found a highlight, whether it was an extended, jammed-out version of Toto's "Rosanna" or guitarist Lukather channeling his best Carlos Santana during the Rolie-sung "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" and "Oye Como Va." Lukather also quipped that Toto's "Africa" was "an old one...you might have heard a few too many times lately," referencing Weezer's hit cover of the song, but it was still a crowd pleaser, with Hay handling the high vocals during the bridge. Stuart brought a bit of funk with AWB's "Pick Up the Pieces," "Cut the Cake" and its version of the Isley Brothers' "Work to Do," and the All-Starrs were visibly stoked to be playing Hay's Men at Work hits, including an especially exuberant "Who Can It Be Now?"

For all his generous highlighting of his All-Starrs, Starr remained the, well, Starr of the show, flashing peace signs and smiling throughout the night. Keenly present, he shouted out to specific fans, including a front-row group that arrived late, and played in tight lockstep with fellow drummer (and Detroit native) Greg Bissonette. After "It Don't Come Easy" Starr also saluted co-writer and late Beatles mate George Harrison with a hearty, "Hare Krishna, George!," and before the Rubber Soul rarity "What Goes On" Starr he noted that it was the only Beatles song credited to Lennon, McCartney and Starkey -- quipping that "the names should have been the other way around."

Starr also dug a little deep into the canon for "Don't Pass Me By," which he started on piano, while his 2012 track "Anthem" was the freshest song of the night by nearly 30 years. He finished with "Photograph," "Act Naturally" and "With a Little Help From My Friends," a high note that made the point that there's still plenty of life left in the All-Starr concept and no need to fix what's not at all broken.

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