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By John Johnson, photos by Chaz Dykes of Chaz D Photography

Before the evening started, I made a joke that “This audience is so old that a couple of them could die and I’m not sure anyone would notice.” Off-color I know, I apologize. I would also apologize to the majority of them as well, because once Ringo Starr and his All Starrs took the stage they were seemingly given new life (so to speak). Maybe it was because the man jumping around at center stage was older than most of them, at 83, or perhaps it was because he was a member of arguably the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll group, and they were breathing the same Florida air.

Regardless of the reason, his age or his iconic status, the enthusiastic crowd at The Sound was in for a wonderful evening of memorable music. Conversely, his age didn’t seem to be a factor as he played drums for a majority of the show. His echelon, obviously being the drummer in the “band everyone refers to”, as he jokingly quipped. Decades after said bands dismantling, Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey), has traversed the globe alongside various classic rock “All-Starrs” for nearly a quarter of a century.

This time out, the seven-piece band included Ringo on drums and vocals; Colin Hay on guitar and vocals; Hamish Stuart on bass and vocals; Edgar Winter on keyboards, saxophone, percussion, and vocals; Gregg Bissonette on drums; underrated Steve Lukather on guitars and vocals; and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham on saxophone, percussion, keyboards, harmonica, and vocals. This “masterfully monstrous group of musicians” (as Winter referred to them during the show) performed a 24-song set jam packed with several crowd pleasers from Starr and the Beatles, as well as familiar numbers originally performed by other All-Starrs and their respective bands.

The “funny” Beatle lived up to his nickname several times throughout the evening, one time declaring “ I wander the stage quite often because I forget what I’m doing.” Not to be outdone in the humor department, Edgar Winter threw out some “Albino Humor” by stating the band often tells him to “lighten up” or that he “pales in comparison” to them. See, my “off color” drollery wasn’t quite so bad after all.

While there were no great surprises in the set list, it didn’t really seem to matter much: Ringo and the boys were clearly having a blast onstage, the ensemble musicianship was stellar (Starr, get it?), and the crowd reveled in the classic rock party vibes. I’ve included the shows setlist at the end of the article for reference, but obvious highlights were Ringo tunes, “It Don’t Come Easy”, “Back Off Boogaloo”, “Octopus’s Garden” and the delightful ear worm “Yellow Submarine”. While Mr. Bissonette did most of the heavy lifting percussion wise, Ringo’s fills at the close of “I Wanna Be Your Man” proved that he wasn’t simply tapping along. From there the other band member’s hits just kept on comin’, and they were abundant: Toto’s power-chord heavy “Hold the Line” and the enchantingly mysterious “Africa” (with Colin Hay deftly handling the vocals in the chorus); Men at Work’s “Down Under”, “Who Can it Be Now,” which was adorned with some slightly grungy guitar, and a personal favorite “Overkill”; and Average White Band’s super funky “Pick Up the Pieces,” with Hamish Stuart suggesting “you’d have to be from another planet if you didn’t recognize this one”. Making it extra distinctive from the original was Winter and Ham on dueling saxophones.

An apparent highlight of the evening was the band’s extended version of the Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein,” which Winter introduced by asking the assembled, “Y’all ready for the monster?” What followed was a stunning, Ringo-less, 12-minute instrumental jam—with Winter moving between keys and sax—that included drum snippets of “We Will Rock You,” “Come Together,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Wipe Out,” and Ringo’s drum solo from “The End,” as well as a stunning percussive back-and-forth between Winter on congas and Bissonette on drums. Very impressive indeed.

The evening at Clearwater’s gem of a concert venue drew to a close with Ringo intoning, “I think you’ll know this one—just kick it in,” as the band launched into “With a Little Help from My Friends.” The rapturous, near capacity crowd roared its approval and cheered even louder as the All-Starrs transitioned into “Give Peace a Chance.” Young fans, and old, rose to their feet to bask in the musical glow of a Starr that still shines.

(Carl Perkins cover)

It Don’t Come Easy
(Ringo Starr song)

What Goes On
(The Beatles cover)

Free Ride
(The Edgar Winter Group cover) (with Edgar Winter)

(Toto cover) (with Steve Lukather)

Pick Up the Pieces
(Average White Band cover) (with Hamish Stuart)

Down Under
(Men at Work cover) (with Colin Hay)

(The Shirelles cover)

I’m the Greatest
(Ringo Starr song)

Yellow Submarine
(The Beatles cover)

Cut the Cake
(Average White Band cover) (with Hamish Stuart)

(The Edgar Winter Group cover) (with Edgar Winter) (with dueling drums interlude)

Octopus’s Garden
(The Beatles cover)

Back Off Boogaloo
(Ringo Starr song)

(Men at Work cover) (with Colin Hay)

(Toto cover) (with Steve Lukather)

Work to Do
(The Isley Brothers cover) (with Hamish Stuart)

I Wanna Be Your Man
(The Beatles cover)

Johnny B. Goode
(Chuck Berry cover) (with Edgar Winter)

Who Can It Be Now?
(Men at Work cover) (with Colin Hay)

Hold the Line
(Toto cover) (with Steve Lukather)

(Ringo Starr song)

Act Naturally
(Johnny Russell cover)

With a Little Help From My Friends
(The Beatles cover) (with “Give Peace a Chance” by Plastic Ono Band chorus at the end)