CONTENT AND PHOTOS © DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Ringo Starr’s Magical Mystery Tour made a stop at the City National Civic in San Jose Sunday night producing many trips down memory lane for the 3,000 fans in attendance.
Now in the 25th year of touring with the always evolving cast of his All-Starr Band, the one time Beatles drummer, often in the shadows of his more famous band mates in spite of having delivered seventeen mostly entertaining solo releases in his own right, Starr gave the near capacity crowd numerous tastes of Beatlemania with countless sing-alongs during the two hour show.
Opening up with Carl Perkins “Matchbox”, first performed by the Beatles in 1964, Ringo followed with “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Wings” a pair of solo compositions, before Todd Rundgren stepped up to sing “I Saw the Light” and Keyboardist Gregg Rolie took the spotlight to contribute the Santana classic “Evil Ways”.
The show could have lost a bit of it’s momentum as Toto’s Steve Lukather sang the usually sleepy ballad “Rosanna” but an impressive horn section elevated it to another level. Mr. Mister bassist Richard Page followed with an impressive delivery of “Kyrie” before Rundgren empthatically returned the rock vibe with his maniacal anthem “Bang The Drum All Day”. One could argue that Starr could easily play more tunes from his own catalog without relying on others to fill out a setlist, but his backing band did have it’s moments and added some pop in unexpected places.
Often self-deprecating, Starr, 74, joked about his recent record sales while continually flashing his trademark peace sign to the crowd. He returned to lead the band thru a trio of Beatles classics starting with the early hit “Boys” before ramping the energy level up even further with the comical “Don’t Pass Me By” from the White Album, given a boost by Rundgren’s harmonica, and a rousing “Yellow Submarine”. Rolie next stepped up to perform a haunting “Black Magic Woman” before Ringo’s version of Perkin’s “Honey Don’t” signaled the unofficial half way point of the show.
A few dead spots that had previously been filled by stronger All-Starr performers such as Ian Hunter, Roger Hodgson, Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton and Shelia E followed, but Rolie’s “Oye Como Va” and a rocking “Hold The Line” by Lukather set the tone for Ringo to conclude the evening on it’s highest of notes as he took the lead one final time to sing “Photograph” and “Act Naturally” before a stirring rendition of “With a Little Help From My Friends” that segued into John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”.
All in all quite an enjoyable and highly nostalgic evening. Unfortunately a demented gunman robbed us of John Lennon and cancer claimed George Harrison at far too young of an age, but Starr continues to carry the shield by bringing smiles to people’s faces and entertaining into his sixth decade. Beatlemaniacs can further rejoice and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band first coming to America with Paul McCartney’s upcoming Candlestick Park closing concert on August 14th.