Ringo and
His All Starr Band

The 2001 Tour



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July 27, 2001

Ringo's All Starr Band Brings Ontario Fans
To Their Feet in Tour Kick-Off

Canadian Press

ORILLIA, Ont. (CP) - With the repertoires of six major artists to choose from, Ringo Starr and his 2001 All Starr Band continually surprised a full house Thursday when he kicked off a 28-city North American tour at a central Ontario casino.

The show rocked through some of the biggest hits of the '60s, '70s and '80s, with a lineup including Supertramp's Roger Hodgson; Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Greg Lake; Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter; British pop singer Howard Jones; former Prince protege Sheila E. and horn player Mark Rivera of Billy Joel's band.

The 5,000-person audience spanned all ages, including some that would only know Ringo Starr from his Shining Time Station TV character, Mr. Conductor.

Opening with Starr's pop song Photograph and closing with The Beatles' A Little Help From My Friends, the band also played such hits as Lake's Lucky Man, Jones' No One Is to Blame, Hunter's Cleveland Rocks, Sheila E.'s Love Bizarre and Hodgson's Give a Little Bit.

"We are so blessed we could go out this summer and have some fun," Starr said as the audience cheered the second tune of the night, The Beatles' Act Naturally, which the band hammed up in a country and western fashion.

Hodgson was obviously the crowd favourite, earning cheers as the opening chords of his tunes Logical Song and Take the Long Way Home were played.

He also earned the first standing ovation of several given during the evening.

"We're all having the most fun we've ever had," Hodgson said. "It's a brilliant, brilliant concept Ringo's come up with."

Since 1989, Starr has toured with five incarnations of the All Starr Band, featuring performers like Jack Bruce, Paul Rodgers, Billy Preston, Joe Walsh and Burton Cummings.

The band, which played Casino Rama's new entertainment centre 130 kilometres north of Toronto, is to appear in only one other Canadian city - Montreal - Friday at the Molson Centre.

July 27, 2001

Ringo and his All Starr Band
Shine Brightly at Casino Rama

Toronto Sun

Rama, ONT. -- When Ringo Starr chose the lineup for his latest All Starr Band he wanted to reflect music from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

Thus the former Beatles drummer, who turned 61 years old just three weeks ago, was joined last night at Casino Rama by Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople and Roger Hodgson of Supertramp -- both alternating on guitar and piano -- bassist Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and King Crimson, percussionist Sheila E -- the first female to grace the stage with the All Starr Band -- keyboardist Howard Jones and multi- instrumentalist Mark Rivera.

The North American launch of his latest All Starr tour, his seventh in 12 years, saw the impressive group easily navigate Starr's solo hits, four Beatles songs -- Boys, Yellow Submarine, I Wanna Be Your Man and With A Little Help From My Friends -- and classics from the other members.

In other words, it was hard to go wrong with a 26-song, hit-heavy set list although after two hours and 10 minutes, it wouldn't have been so bad to leave the audience of 5,000 wanting more.

Starr and his All Starrs arrived in this Central Ontario town just under two weeks ago to begin 10-hour-a-day rehearsals for their pending tour.

And the drummer certainly acknowledged his rural setting early on by asking: "Are there any cowboys in the audience?"

Starr seemed eager to share the spotlight, which meant no one performer had to carry the entertaining load for very long.

Instead, they all seemed pleased to pass the baton, as it were, opening the evening with Starr's own solo hits Photograph and Act Naturally, before moving easily intoCourt Of The Crimson King, then Supertramp's Logical Song followed by Jones' No One Is To Blame, Hunter's Drew Carey show theme, Cleveland Rocks and Sheila E's A Love Bizarre.

And so it went for the rest of the night.

Hodgson, in particular, has aged well as a singer, his clear voice ringing out over everyone else's on such fan favourites as Logical Song, Give A Little Bit and Take The Long Way Home.

Hunter, meanwhile, was the resident hambone, making up for his croaky voice with overwhelming enthusiasm on Cleveland Rocks and one of the set's standouts All The Young Dudes, not to mention his dry wit.

He pointed out that while Sheila E was wearing sunglasses because she had gotten mascara in one of her eyes earlier in the day, he had on his big gold-rimmed darkened frames for another reason: "I'm a poser."

As for the rest, Lake and Jones blandly blended into the background more often than not while Sheila E had her moment during a rousing version of The Glamorous Life, which saw her playing at the front of the stage for too short a time.

No mention was made by Starr last night of the other two surviving Beatles, despite this being a big news week for both of them.

Paul McCartney proposed to girlfriend Heather Mills -- the nuptials are planned for next year -- and George Harrison's ongoing battle with cancer had supposedly brought him to death's door -- or not.

As Starr himself said at the beginning of the concert: "Good music and fun, that's what it's all about."

And, for the most part, he was right.

This page was updated July 25, 2001.
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