Ringo Starr Shines at Paramount Theatre

Ringo Starr Shines at Paramount Theatre

October 2, 2018 Off By Denver Thread

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Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath

“Are you a mod or a rocker?” asks a beautiful young female journalist in the middle of a presser full of impossibly hip reporters and rock and roll types. “I’m a mocker!” chirps Ringo, cementing him for all times as the funniest Beatle, and lodging him as a favorite in my heart and brain. That was a mere 54 years ago, when “A Hard Day’s Night” introduced the Beatles as characters to adoring audiences world-wide. This is the Ringo at the relative beginning of Beatlemania- when it was still fun to go on parade, flirt with girls and flip his shiny hair. This was Ringo before the crowds became so massive and oppressive that the Beatles were forced to stop playing live, before the record burnings, before the personal and business tensions broke up the band, before Lennon was gunned down, before the Beatles gained status as global icons, credited with changing rock and roll and the whole world. The 78-year-old Ringo Starr that played the Paramount last Tuesday is the Ringo “after,” but he sure seemed like a mocker (and a rocker) to me.

Ringo Starr’s All Star-Band has been touring in various iterations for nearly 30 years, and it’s a formula that works. How does the drummer from the biggest rock band of all times continue to please audiences decades after that band has broken up? He does it by pulling together the best elements from lots of other gigantic rock bands into one happily nostalgic supergroup, dubbed by the ever-cheeky Ringo himself as the ““the best 1-800-band in the land.”  This year’s All-Star Band included Colin Hay of Men at Work, Steve Lukather of Toto, Gregg Rolie of Santana, Graham Gouldman of 10cc, and consummate studio musicians Warren Ham and Greg Bissonette.

The All-Star Band’s set at the Paramount followed a failproof formula: Ringo’s biggest Beatles and solo songs (Don’t Pass Me By, Act Naturally, Yellow Submarine, Photograph) alternating with the classic hits from each of the bands represented in his lineup. Hearing Toto’s “Africa” and “Rosanna,” Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” and the irrepressible Colin Hay’s vocals still soaring on “Who Can it Be Now?” is a recipe for pure, uncynical pop music magic. The musicianship was top notch. The songs, both Ringo’s and the All-Stars, are some of the catchiest and most memorable pop confections of all times. The light show was on point, the sound dialed in. The night of perfect pop music closed on a poignant note, The Paramount on its feet singing along to the Beatles feel-good classic “A Little Help from My Friends.”  Lording over it all was this incredible Peter Pan of a man, this spritely, energetic, peace-sign wagging mocker of a man, bringing joy to the masses for more than a half century, this Ringo Starr.