Ringo and his All-Starrs spread peace and love at Stephens

Famous musical artist Ringo Star during his performance at Iowa State’s Stephens Auditorium on Sept. 5.


Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band drew a full house, around 2,500 guests, to Stephens Auditorium on Wednesday.

Although the latest variation of the All-Starr Band has been together for only a couple of months, their onstage chemistry makes it seem like they have all been together for many years. The band is very tight, and they seem to have a ton of fun performing together. They work well off of each other and feed off of each other’s energy. This made it more than just a fun night for the thousands of attendees.

The band’s fourth stop on their North American tour started off with a bang when Gregg Bissonette (drums), Graham Gouldman from 10cc (bass guitar), Warren Ham from AD and Kansas (saxophone, harmonica, flute, percussion), Colin Hay from Men at Work (guitar), Steve Lukather from Toto (guitar) and Gregg Rolie from Santana and Journey (keyboards) took their places on stage before being joined by Ringo Starr who ran out on stage with his signature pose. Clad in black skinny jeans, a printed t-shirt and a blazer, he came out waving both hands in the air, both holding up peace signs and smiling widely at the audience.

Making his entrance, Starr jumped into the first performance of the night, “Matchbox.” All band members did great work on their instruments and as backup vocalists. The song garnered the first of many standing ovations and an applause so loud it prompted Starr to make a few jokes about his hearing before singing “It Don’t Come Easy” to an adoring public. One of the more notable things about this song was Ham’s smooth performance on the saxophone.

Starr’s next vocal performance was “What Goes On” before he handed the part of main vocals over to Gouldman of 10cc fame and moving to sit behind his drum kit. Gouldman jokingly introduced his next song, “Dreadlock Holiday,” as a “massive hit all over the world except in America.” The reggae track that once topped Billboard charts around the world, drew a good response from the crowd, who sang along to the music.

Gouldman introduced the next song by calling Santana’s Rolie “The John Wayne of Rock and Roll” prior to Rolie and the band’s performance of “Evil Ways.” This performance’s stand out point was Lukather’s time on the electric guitar, with him banging his head and playing his heart out to his solo.

Next up was an energetic performance of “Rosanna” with Lukather on main vocal which featured more of Ham on the saxophone, followed by a crowd favorite, “Down Under” by Hay of Men at Work.

Starr next played prominent songs, taking back to the drums for “Boys” and “Don’t Pass Me By,” from his Beatles days. Although, the most popular song that night had to be “Yellow Submarine,” which he introduced by poking fun at the audience saying, “Are you ready to participate? If you don’t know the next song, you’re in the wrong venue and you’re waiting for The Rolling Stones!”

The crowd went wild for the Beatles classic and made for one of the liveliest performances of the night. Starr commented that the song “should always be sung with a crowd.”

He introduced the following songs as a “magical musical moment” before leaving the stage momentarily. The songs were “I’m Not in Love” sung by Gouldman and “Black Magic Woman” sung by Rolie which ended in a fantastic extended drum and percussion duet between Gregg Bissonette and Ham that drew large applause.

After a small wardrobe change, Starr returned to the stage, ditching his blazer for a more casual white shirt over his tee. He dedicated the next song, “You’re Sixteen,” to the young girls in the audience and to those who felt young at heart. This was immediately followed by “Anthem,” which Starr introduced by simply shouting out “peace and love!” Both songs had enthusiastic reactions, with people singing along with their hands in the air.

Afterwards, Hay went front and center to sing the Men at Work song “Overkill” and told the audience that “this is a song that has been very good to me over the years. I’m very thankful that it’s still with me.” 

Lukather returned to main vocals to one of sing his band’s biggest hits, “Africa,” thanking Weezer for giving the song its biggest comeback since its recording in 1981. Both these songs featured Ham’s work on the saxophone and both ended in standing ovations from an eager audience.

“Oye Como Va” came next, with the band singing along with Rolie. This performance was instrument heavy and gave the members time to shine with their respective instruments.

Starr followed up with “I Wanna Be Your Man” from behind his kit before Gouldman slowed things down with “The Things We Do for Love.” These songs garnered a larger reaction out of the couples in the audience, all of whom stuck to each other through the songs clapped loudly at each ending. Then, Hay introduced “Who Can It Be Now,” which sped things back up, encouraging an avid crowd to sing along, which they did with excitement.

“Hold the Line” followed, Lukather reminding the audience this was his first single, released when he was just a teenager. People immediately rose to their seats at the keyboard intro by Ham and shouted their approvals during the guitar work by the band at the end of the song.

As the lights turned on for a moment, Ringo chose to use this to introduce his next song saying that, “They turn the lights on and I can see you all and you’re beautiful. I wish I had a great big camera to take a ‘Photograph!’”  The Starr classic was one of the favorites of the night, ending with the majority of the audience holding up peace signs and applauding.

The band then mixed it up with a little bit of country with the number, “Act Naturally,” before introducing Starr’s last song of the evening. Starr humorously said to his band mates, “Why don’t you guys start it and then see if I remember it.” The band started to play “With a Little Help from My Friends.” This was one of the more energetic pieces of the whole show. All the band members proved one is only as old as one feels by playing their hardest on their instruments while 78-year-old Starr danced around stage, waved his arms, jumped up and down and even did jumping jacks, showing off that he was as fit as a fiddle.

Before leaving, Starr ended his time on stage by shouting out “Peace and love!” into the crowd, multiple times before his bandmates all played and sang “Give Peace A Chance” to end the show.

Happy faces belonged to those who left Stephens Auditorium that night, after attending a concert that gave people energy by being thoroughly enjoyable and amusing. Two of these faces belong to Kathy and David Utterson from Des Moines, who have been huge fans of the Beatles ever since they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show back in 1964. They believed the concert was very pleasant and claim that they completely enjoyed their time there.

“I was impressed. It was a really great show. Ringo jumped around like he was 20 years old and everyone else carried that energy too,” Kathy Utterson said.

Another satisfied audience member was Richard Geil, someone who helped work the show who was positioned down stage left the whole night as he manned the front seats and stage. “I remember when they [the Beatles] sang back then. They were one of my favorite bands when I graduated high school back in ’64. Tonight was a good one. I think it was a pretty great show tonight and everyone did well. It was a full house and [the audience] all liked it,” he said.

The Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band concert in full, checked all the boxes of people’s expectations that night. They left the audience entertained and pleased, they did an excellent job of showcasing each other’s talents and they succeeded in putting on a show not just as a group of well known musicians but as an actual cohesive band.