This past Friday night, I had the opportunity to see Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band in concert in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. As far as I am concerned, when it comes to music, there are the Beatles and then there is everyone else. The music I grew up with and loved, all of the 90s “alternative” and the 60s-80s pop rock, simply would not exist without the Beatles – at least not in the same way. In other words, even though seeing Ringo in person wasn’t on my bucket list, it should have been. It definitely should have been.
The concert itself left me pleasantly surprised. There was “Yellow Submarine,” “Photograoph,” “Octopus’s Garden,” and “WIth A Little Help from My Friends,” of course. Ringo didn’t even announce “With A Little Help from My Friends.” He quipped that “if you don’t know this next one, you’re at the wrong concert!” What a great way to end a concert. All to be expected.
Instead, it was the strength of his All-Star Band that blew me away. As a child of the 80s and 90s that grew up with 70s and 80s hits, hearing “Africa” and “Rosanna” by Toto, “Free Ride” by the Edgar Winter Group, “Who Can It Be Now“ and “Down Under” by Men at Work, among so many others, was just as much fun. The sound quality and overall musicianship was far and away the best I have ever seen in a concert. Then I realized that I was watching men in their 70s and 80s playing, not to prove anything, but to just have fun, truly in love with the music. They were playing songs that have been around for decades, that they’ve been playing for decades.
The experience became so much more than the concert, though. After the concert, we walked around a bit looking for the Legends diner. As we wandered around, suddenly the back doors of entertainment hall opened and the tribal police escorted out the band immediately in front of us. Everyone froze for a second and then gave them a resounding round of applause. Even after they were gone, I waited a bit, hoping that Ringo would be following them. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Just as we were going to start our search for the diner once again, I did a double-take. A Ringo look-alike – as in this man looked exactly like Ringo – was holding court and taking photographs with all who wished them. Unfortunately, the line was too long, and I am nothing if not impatient.
While the experience wasn’t perfect – namely our seats weren’t quite what we were expecting – it is a weekend that I will never forget. Saturday, I woke up to the news that Ringo canceled several appearances in his tour due to COVID. I can only wish Ringo the best as he recovers.