Does this man look like he’s 83 years of age? He is. That’s Ringo Starr singing as the concert got underway, before heading up to the drum kit behind him. (Joe Grimando photo)
RIO RANCHO — There’s not a guest register at the Rio Rancho Events Center, originally the Santa Ana Star Center when it opened in October 2006.
But there’d be a heck of an impressive list of names if there was such a thing, which would include presidential hopefuls (Al Gore and Donald Trump), former NFL stars (Dez Bryant and Terrell Owens), one of soccer’s greats (Landon Donovan), WWE champ Roman Reigns, comedians (ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, Rodney Carrington, Larry the Cable Guy), and countless music acts.
Add one to the final category: Legendary Ringo Starr.
One of the surviving Beatles, Starr was accompanied at his Sept. 20 concert at the Events Center by Steve Lukather, revisiting chartbusters from his Toto days (“Africa,” “Rosanna,” “Hold the Line”); Men at Work’s Colin Hay (“Who Can It Be Now?”); Edgar Winter (“Frankenstein” and “Johnny B. Goode”); Hamish Stuart of the Average White Band (“Pick Up the Pieces” and “Cut the Cake”); and accomplished session drummer Gregg Bissonette and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham.
Starr’s contributions made up nearly half of the 24-song set: (s (“Boys,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Yellow Submarine,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” “Octopus’s Garden”) and some of his solo work (“Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy”).
People were standing, filming the various songs on the cellphones, batting around two balloons, and a large percentage were singing along. People of “that” generation understood lyrics back then, and they were hard to forget.
Of course, who can’t forget the simplistic “We all live in a Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine. (Rinse and repeat.) And they weren’t about to forget the only song ever with the words “vegemite sandwich” in it.
Don’t take the Observer’s word for it that it was a great concert. Check out what other attendees among the crowd of nearly 5,000 had to say:
- Let’s start with Harvey Goertz, who drove all the way from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with his wife to catch the show.
It was the fourth time he’d be seeing Starr, he said, recalling how his life had changed after he saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. (Probably many in the audience, with not many under the age of 60, had also seen that initial appearance of the “Fab Four.”)
“I picked up a guitar, learned how to play a guitar and I’ve been playing it ever since,” Goertz said, admitting he’s not any good on the instrument.
He’s been really good at seeing not only the Beatles live, which he did in Cleveland in 1964, but also seeing them individually, including the late John Lennon and the late George Harrison. He’s also seen the other still-living Beatle, Paul McCartney, four times.
“This (Rio Rancho appearance) was a great opportunity. It was a great trip down; we got to see part of the country (I’ve never seen), New Mexico.”
- “The concert was awesome! I am very much a Beatle/Ringo Starr fan, and the concert was amazing. I love Toto and Men at Work, so hearing their songs was an amazing surprise!” (Kendra Marler)
- “Wow! When it was billed as Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band, Mark (Guerin) and I were both surprised that it was an ALL-star band! The stars were out in force, hit after hit. Ringo and his (other) drummer played totally in sync along with the amazing sax guy who played the bongo from time to time. All of the artists played many different instruments. Worth every nine pence! We sang almost every song and now I will have an octopus’s garden in the shade in my head for days now. We’ll have to pull out those CDs and play them for our granddaughter, so she understands good old rock and roll!” (Karen Fitzpatrick)
- “I’ve been to over 300 concerts in my life, so I do have some experience in this matter.
“To me, this show was like having four classic rock concerts all rolled up into one from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, man — all different periods of my life listening to music all on one stage — and to watch my 23-year-old daughter singing along to 90% of the songs made my heart happy. We thought the show was amazing and would recommend everyone to catch one if they can.” (Joe Madrid)
- “To hear such great music from the original stars was really special, not just the iconic Ringo Starr, but Edgar Winter, Toto, Men at Work, Average White Band. It was a real package show.” (Jay Lee)
There was one nonmusical moment that garnered national attention. As Starr took the stage for an encore goodnight message, he tripped and fell. However, like a true showman, he popped right up and continued on with his final goodbye, wishing peace and love to audience.
It was definitely hard to believe Starr’s 83 years old, and even though his net worth is said to be $350 million, he and his bandmates were clearly having a lot of fun.
Starr’s new “Rewind Forward” album drops Oct. 13.