Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band

12 August 1995

Sunken Gardens Amphitheatre, San Antonio, TX


The best concert I've seen this year. On a very warm Saturday evening in Texas, my brother Bryan and I got to see a long-time hero of us all. The Sunken Gardens Amphitheatre is an unusually nice venue in an otherwise strange part of downtown San Antonio. Lots of foliage, colorful bedrock, and even a creek.

Like many artists, Ringo Starr has fallen prey to corporate sponsorship, with this year's tour sponsored by a major credit card company. Near the concession stands, this company was giving out free live, otherwise unreleased compact discs, in exchange for customers filling out credit card applications. Interesting in obtaining copies of the CD, my brother and I filled out the necessary credit applications. For the accountants with that company, by the way, our names were "Marv Kirckbride" and "Glenn Wickholm", respectively. Oh, we never got the credit cards.

Every other year or so, Ringo has been digging up rock legends from the past, and inviting them on the road with him, for interesting compilations of oldie material. This year's All-Starr lineup was quite an amazing aggregation. Mark Farner from Grand Funk Railroad, Felix Cavaliere from the Rascals, Randy Bachman from The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, John Entwistle from The Who, Ringo's son Zak Starkey, and Billy Preston, all of whom Bryan and I admire greatly.

Nils Lofgren, who appeared with Ringo in a previous year's All-Starr lineup, opened the show solo. Not much to say about him, except that he's a legendary guitarist, having appeared on recordings with Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, to name a couple.

In addition to performing some of Ringo's best, such as the Beatles tunes "With A Little Help Of My Friends", and "Octopus' Garden", Ringo also sang several solo songs, "Photograph", "It Don't Come Easy", Back Off Boogaloo", "You're Sixteen", and "No No Song".

Ringo occasionally took to the rhythm section for fun, and for nostalgic purposes, but left the majority of the backbeat duties to his son Zak. Though it seems ironic that the world's most famous drummer would spend most of his time away from his kit, remember that Ringo the singer had two #1 singles, several other Top 40 singles, and a few gold and platinum albums in the 1970s.

But, the special parts of the evening came when the other band members sang their major hits with the rest of the band. John Entwistle showcased "Boris The Spider", Mark Farner played and sang to an extended "Closer To Home (I'm Your Captain)", Felix Cavaliere dished out a mean B-3 organ to "Groovin", Billy Preston played a couple tunes, including "Will It Go 'Round In Circles", and Randy Bachman vocalized, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet".

Ringo, now 7 years sober, showed (and shows) that he still knows how to party. Given Ringo's extensive number of genuine friends, he'll probably be able to assemble even more amazing All-Starr bands in the years to come.

[*****] - Steven T.


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