Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The OTHER Beatle

Last night, at the beautiful Hard Rock Casino Vancouver (which is actually in Coquitlam, but I digress....), I was fortunate enough to cross the last surviving Beatle, Ringo Starr, off my bucket list.

That sounds bad....no, Paul McCartney didn't die yesterday....but I saw him already, so Ringo was the last surviving Beatle to cross off my list, not LITERALLY the last surviving Beatle. OK I hope that's clear now.

The view from Row 3


Beatles fans know that Ringo only sang a handful of their classic tunes - and he had a few of his own - but how would he fill a two-hour long show? With his "all-star" band, of course.

The band consisted of Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Gregg Rolie and Gregg Bissonnette. With the possible exception of Rundgren, you have never heard of them. But you know the bands they were in:

Lukather - Toto
Page - Mr. Mister
Rolie - Santana, the Storm, Abraxas Pool, Journey
Bissonnette - David Lee Roth band (post Van-Halen), Santana

A seriously talented line-up......and shortly after Ringo had opened the show with a few of his own tunes, he introduced the band who started to take turns at their own stuff. After Rundgren went first, Lukather brought us back to the early 80's with Toto's "Rosanna". It must be noted that Lukather was not Toto's vocalist, and he got some help from the others with the vocals.

About this time, I turned to my friend and informed him that when it was Mr. Mister's turn, if they performed "Kyrie" instead of "Broken Wings", I was going to charge the stage.

Shortly after Rosanna ended, it was turned over to Mr. Page (who WAS the lead vocalist on Mr. Mister), who, of course, broke out into "Kyrie". I had to be restrained.

Next up was Rolie....who bears a striking resemblance to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Just when you think you know the song, he changes the sheet music.

(There are about 5 people on the planet who will get that joke.....and if you are not one of them, trust me, those 5 people are laughing their f'n asses off right now).

Rolie engages the audience with some fine keyboard playing and some classic Santana with "Evil Ways". It's about this time that I start to realize this isn't going to be a "one-song" deal from these other artists... it's a greatest-hits-extravaganza. We get all the biggest stuff....yes, I get to hear "Broken Wings".... but also "Africa" and "Hold the Line" from Toto, "Black Magic Woman" from Santana, and Rundgren doing his iconic anthem, "Bang the Drum All Day". Quite an eclectic mix of music spanning several generations; when you think about it, the Beatles broke up in 1970 - 8 years before Toto's first album and a full fifteen years before Mr. Mister had a hit.

And of course, Ringo did all of his big Beatles stuff. Yellow Submarine, I Wanna Be Your Man, Act Naturally, and finished it off with With a Little Help From My Friends. As the show wound down, all the artists sang a chorus of "Give Peace a Chance" and that was it. Actually, I'm wrong when I say he did "all" his Beatles stuff; curiously absent was one of his biggest Beatles tunes, Octopus's Garden; but that's a small quibble in what was otherwise a terrific evening. Bravo to all involved, and I hope they come back someday in the near future.