Reviewing Ringo’s “All-Starr” performance

Capri Scarcelli | A&E Editor | A plethora of peace symbols set the backdrop for Ringo Starr's performance at PPG Paints Arena.

Capri Scarcelli | A&E Editor

Sept. 15, 2022

On Saturday at PPG Paints Arena, we all lived in a yellow submarine with Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band.

After the Beatles split in 1969, Ringo kicked off his solo career in the 1970s, though he didn’t create his ever-evolving, under-appreciated misfit group until 1989. In 2022, at the age of 82, Ringo is still touring with his current band of friends: Steve Lukather (Toto), Colin Hay (Men at Work), Warren Ham (The Four Seasons), Gregg Bissonette (Electric Light Orchestra), Hamish Stuart (Average White Band) and Edgar Winter (David Lee Roth Band).

The concert was short and sweet, starting at 7:30 p.m., and ending just around 9:40 p.m. The setlist included various works from Ringo’s solo career, a few Beatles teasers and hit songs from the band members’ respective musical groups. The arena was filled with a polite audience of old and young — smiles in every seat.

Best known as the Beatles’ drummer, Ringo spent a majority of the show at his drum set, though did a cute, little-old-man sway when he came up to the microphone for his solo pieces. He had cheesy transitions from song to song, always throwing in a “peace and love” before going into his next set. The starry backdrop with tie-dyed peace signs were incredibly suiting, setting me back to a time I wasn’t even alive for.

Ringo’s stage presence had me giggling the whole show, especially when he passionately sang his solo pieces that not many of the audience members knew. “It Don’t Come Easy,” “I’m the Greatest,” “Back Off Boogaloo” and “Photograph” were the only Ringo songs played, but it was still great to see him excited to perform.

Ringo is a traditional, old-school performer. He stands still at center stage with his microphone, doing little movements to keep with the beat, while gesturing to his fellow performers with either his hand or his drumstick for the audience to cheer for his friends, too.

In fact, Ringo disappeared for about 20 minutes as his fellow bandmates performed guitar solos, saxophone trios, drum sequences and more. Stellar performances of “Rosanna,” “Johnny B. Goode” and “Land Down Under” particularly stood out to me as songs I wouldn’t expect to hear when seeing Ringo Starr, but I couldn’t have been more elated to hear them live.

When Ringo would head downstage to sing again, I was overjoyed. His quirky dialogue was enough entertainment as is, thanking the audience for “the lights” (iPhone flashlights) for every single song. He made jabs at John Lennon songs he didn’t feel like playing (or perhaps didn’t have the rights to play). He also called out an audience member for talking over top of him, saying, “I do quite love it when you shout at me, but not while I’m talking! Peace and love!”

I was pleasantly surprised to hear old Beatles’ hits like “What Goes On,” “Octopus’ Garden,” “Yellow Submarine,” “I Wanna Be Your Man.” He closed the show by performing “With A Little Help From My Friends.” These care-free, whimsical pieces healed my inner child when I heard them live.

Better yet, when my friend and I were two of the only people in the audience physically fit enough to jump up and cheer, Ringo Starr himself proclaimed into the microphone, “Don’t think I don’t see you girls back there!”

Ringo closed out his set thanking the audience for a beautiful night, saying, “You know the rest!” as “Give Peace a Chance” cadenced until his final “peace and love” and bow.

No encore was needed. It was a perfect night with an All-Starr band.