Photos and review by Raven Divito
Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band brought Peace, Love and Togetherness to The Fruit Yard Amphitheater in Modesto, CA on Saturday September 16, 2023.
Ringo Starr is most notably known as the drummer and contributing singer/songwriter of The Beatles, and he founded his band in 1989 and has consistently toured for over three decades and rotates its lineup with Ringo being the exception.
The band consists of Steve Lukather (singer/songwriter) of the band Toto; Edgar Winter (singer/songwriter and instrumentalist) of the Edgar Winter Group; Colin Hay (singer/songwriter) who came to prominence as the lead vocalist and sole continuous member of the band Men at Work; Hamish Stuart, (guitarist/bassist and singer) whose claims to fame were being in the Average White Band, and later in his career having a nice run with Paul Mc Cartney; Warren Ham who is an multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, best known for his work in the bands Kansas and Toto; and Gregg Bissonette, an incredible rock drummer who has collaborated with David Lee Roth, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Joe Satriani and Spinal Tap to name a few. So you can only imagine what all this talent can bring to a concert. We were definitely in for a treat of The Beatles songs, Toto, Men at Work, Edgar Winter Group, Average White Band and a few covers of epic tracks from other artists like The Isley Brothers and The Shirelles.
It was a perfect warm summer evening nestled in the eastern farmlands just outside the San Francisco Bay Area. This Amphitheater holds a capacity of 3500 in which 1500 spots are seated plus 2000 spaces on the lawns. This is the most intimate Amphitheater I have ever been to, and you were guaranteed a great view of the stage no matter where you were sitting.
This was a special evening of Ringo Starr and His All Star Band, with no other supporting acts. The show was to start at 7 pm sharp and the sun was just starting to set over stage right. The majority of the concert-goers were 40-somethings, blended with children and music lovers of other generations.
The All Starr Band walked out and started right into “Matchbox,” a Carl Perkins cover. Then bursting onstage was a gleaming ray of light in Ringo Starr. Hands held over his head with peace signs as he covered the entire stage greeting the fans. Everyone was standing, cheering, smiling, and flying their peace signs high in the air in reply to Ringo. It was beautiful, magical and very powerful. Ringo grabbed the mic, and the show had begun.
In between songs, Ringo thanked everyone for coming, and really took the time to smile and engage with fans. The band rolled into “It Don’t Come Easy” written by Ringo, as he held the microphone into the crowd to capture the loud sing-a-long which engulfed the amphitheater. I could feel the goosebumps raise up on my neck as I realized the importance of history we were witnessing at this very moment. The fans started to sway and groove in sync.
Song three, “Free Ride,” (Edgar Winter Group), was a super fun pick-me-up, as Ringo got behind the second drum kit and syncopated along with Gregg Bissonette. Each All Starr member had multiple spotlight moments showcasing their historical bodies of work in other bands, such as Steve Lukather (Toto) taking over vocals on the song Rosanna, and Hamish Stuart carving out “Pick Up The Pieces” by Average White Band. The multi-instrumentalist musicians demonstrated their polished skills on a variety of instruments such as guitar, percussion, keyboards and horns to name a few. You could feel the kinship and respect amongst the members as they interacted with each other.
After the ninth song, Ringo went backstage while the members played “Cut the Cake” (Average White Band) and “Frankenstein” (Edgar Winter Group). When Ringo returned onstage, he was witty and said, “Well I left you in ‘The Yellow Submarine,’ and now we will journey through ‘Octopus’s Garden’ (The Beatles).” Then came hit after hit after hit with songs like “Who Can it Be Now?” (Men at Work), “Hold the Line” (Toto), and “Photograph” (Ringo Starr). Ringo sang eight of the twenty-three set song list, and played drums on 13 songs in total.
It was a fabulous evening shared with some of the most impactful songs and talented artists that have left a footprint in musical history forever.
For more information on shows and news, go to www.ringostarr.com