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Concert Reviews:
Ringo and his All-Starrs refresh memories at DTE

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, June 27, 2014

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- There's a line in Ringo Starr's hit "Photograph" about years going by, and people growing "old and gray."

And it was an old and gray night -- in a good way -- on Friday, June 27, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, when the Beatles drummer brought the latest incarnation of his All-Starr Band to town for his first show on this side of the Detroit River since 2006.

The players have changed, as they do every time Starr goes out, but the sweetly sentimental "peace and love" vibe of the 25-song, two-hour and 40-minute show was the same, melting away decades into warm memories that generally eclipsed the fact that anyone there -- musicians included -- had gotten a bit longer in the tooth and maybe a bit past their prime.

The All-Starr concept, of course, allowed Starr and company to present a veritable jukebox of hits from the 60s, 70s and -- thanks to the presence of Toto's Steve Lukather and Mr. Mister's Richard Page -- the 80s. It's to the DTE crowd's credit that it seemed as familiar with, and enthusiastic about, "Africa" or "Broken Wings" (which featured an extended guitar solo by Lukather) as they did any of Starr's material, or Todd Rundgren favorites such as "I Saw the Light" and "Love is the Answer." Lukather and Greg Rolie also stretched out on Toto's "Rosanna" and Santana's arrangement of Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman," with the guitarist wisely eschewing a straight-out Carlos Santana impersonations to instead spin his own flavor into the latter, as well as the Santana renditions of "Evil Ways" and "Oye Como Va."

Despite the potency of the All-Starrs, however, Starr was still the, well, star of the show -- genial and self-deprecating, never scrimping on the smiles or the peace sign. While a pair of songs from his "Ringo 2012" album -- "Wings" and "Anthem" were dead spots, his litany of other favorites compensated, including the show-starting rendition of Carl Perkins' "Matchbox," "It Don't Come Easy," the Beatles rarity "Don't Pass Me By" and the singalong "Yellow Submarine."

Starr and Detroit-born drummer Bissonette, sporting a Red Wings T-shirt for the occasion, powered through "I Wanna Be Your Man" with commanding precision/ And after Toto's "Hold the Line" rocked the crowd back to its feet, Starr ended the show on a high with "Photograph," "Act Naturally," "With a Little Help From My Friends" and a bit of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."

Comfortable, heartstring-tugging -- and finished before the sun had set It was nothing less than an adult show that brought back welcome memories of youth and was enough fun to circumvent deep critical analysis.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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