Ringo’s Star Is Shining Bright


Mystic Showroom was packed to the brim with grateful Beatles fans last night. After a canceled date earlier in the year due to illness, Ringo Starr finally returned with his All Starr Band to the comfy and shimmering room in Prior Lake. The All Starr Band is an ever-evolving lineup of some of the most talented classic rockers.

This year’s lineup featured Steve Lukather of Toto, Colin Hay of Men At Work, Hamish Stuart of Average White Band, Warren Ham (Kansas, Toto), Gregg Bissonette (ELO, Spinal Tap), and Edgar Winter. While this was my third time attending an All-Starr band show, I found myself enjoying myself even more this time. These guys have nothing to prove. They are just out on the road together having fun. I think there’s a real magic with that veil over the performance. What a (very earned) luxury for them!

The disposition on stage was sheer jubilance. They roared on their feet as the band took their places to open up the show. From the first note of “Matchbox”, it was clear that this would be a night for the fans. Some old, some very young, and many somewhere in between. It felt like a lot of families came together to share the experience. There were more standing ovations in two hours than I can recall!

Ringo kicked off the evening with his signature peace signs in the air and a few of his own songs; “It Don’t Come Easy”, and “What Goes On”. He told us that “It Don’t Come Easy” is the only song by “that band” credited to Lennon, McCartney, and Starkey with a cheeky smile. From there, he passed the metaphorical torch to the other members to take over and do what they do best. He took that time to do what he arguably does best: play the drums. His gorgeous star-adorned black and white Ludwig drums were the highest point of the stage. He spent a lot of the show drumming in synch with Bissonette. I’m always mesmerized at the sight of two drummers, and I think it really showcases the talent and confidence of both. There’s no room for mistakes.

The night was filled with lightbulb moments as the Ringo and his All Starrs ran through their 24-song set. As a massive Beatles fan, I was drawn to the show to see one of the four most iconic musicians to walk the earth. I haven’t gone deep into the catalogs of Toto, Average White Band, Men At Work, or Edgar Winter. However, I knew every single song that these guys joyfully brought to the stage. Most of all, so did the audience. It definitely felt like the audience appreciated the bonus of seeing these artists.

Songs like Toto’s “Rosanna”, and Men At Work’s “Down Under” had the audience rocking, while Average White Band’s “Pick Up the Pieces” and Edgar Winter Group’s “Free Ride” filled the room with swirling stars and a funk groove that kept the whole front of the showroom dancing on their feet. Colin Hay’s vocals are truly profound, but hearing him take over the chorus on Toto’s “Africa” was incredible.

One highlight for me was watching Edgar Winter take over with his humor and energy. The man was absolutely running up and down the stage with more energy than I had during the weekend heat combined. He switched regularly between keys, sizzling saxophone, drums, and even a portable keyboard during a 10+ minute rendition of “Frankenstein”. He boasted that he was the first musician to do this once the synthesizer became popular. He essentially invented the keytar – a lot of history in the room! He had a saxophone solo, a drum solo, and several keyboard solos just in this one song. It was electric.

While the crowd was absolutely ravenous for the hit-after-hit setlist, they were always most charmed by Ringo addressing the crowd and performing the most familiar songs of the night. “Yellow Submarine” and “Octopus’s Garden” had everyone jumping and smiling. He saved the best for last, with “Act Naturally” and “With A Little Help From My Friends”. I had to close my eyes and remember that this is RINGO STARR in person. He put his peace signs back up and exited the stage, only to come out moments later for an encore jam of Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace A Chance”.

If you wonder what the audience vibe is like at a Ringo show – I can sum it up in one anecdote.

Leaving any parking structure after a show is usually a nightmare. Tons of people trying to merge into one lane coming from all different directions. They’re trying to keep cool while they make split-second choices of whether to wave another person through or cut them off to just *get out*.

Last night at Mystic, I saw something really sweet. The traffic leaving the parking structure was just fans happily listening to The Beatles. They were taking turns and throwing up peace signs to each other in a gesture of thankfulness. Was this a really small thing? I suppose. But to me, it was everything. Giving peace a chance can be just that simple.