Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band promise decades of fun

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Rescheduled Cobb Energy Centre show happens Sept. 19 with a parade of classic singles performed by the former Beatle and pals.

Consider Ringo Starr’s concert a playlist for the generations.

Each night during its U.S. tour, the All-Starr Band serves up two hours of jukebox rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s-1980s, including The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” Toto’s “Africa,” Men at Work’s “Who Can It Be Now,” Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox” and the Isley Brothers’ “Work to Do.”

Musicians Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette, Hamish Stuart and Edgar Winter jam along with Starr on stage, where the camaraderie is as famous as the tunes.

Credit: Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

Credit: Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

“Every song is a hit,” says guitarist Lukather, the Toto stalwart who has performed with the All-Starr Band since 2012 and recently completed a string of gigs with his own group on a bill with Journey. “Ringo is on fire, and it’s so inspiring to be around him. I love every member of the All-Starrs, they’re all dear friends.”

Lukather says that the All-Starrs’ fifteenth outing (with different member configurations dating back to 1989) is unique for two reasons.

First, Peter Jackson’s 2021 Beatles documentary “Get Back” exposed Ringo’s professionalism, humor and natural musicality to younger audiences via the Disney+ streaming app and surprised longtime fans with never-before-seen footage from 1969 before the Beatles disbanded in 1970.

Credit: Mike Colucci

Credit: Mike Colucci

“I’ve had the honor of working with Paul McCartney and George Harrison over the years, and that was a huge thrill,” Lukather says. “But Ringo comes off as like the coolest guy in the [”Get Back”] film. He’s told me how much it meant to him to have people see [the brighter side of the Beatles’ process] and what it was really like, instead of all the dark.”

Secondly, Ringo’s return to the stage is a highly anticipated last-blast-of-summer event for music lovers who spent years away from concerts — and their favorite performers — due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Both Lukather and Winter tested positive for COVID-19 in early June, forcing the All-Starrs to reschedule tour dates to September.

During that time away from the road, Ringo Starr turned 82, and held his usual July 7 lunchtime birthday celebration, which this year included an outdoor community event in Los Angeles with his recovered bandmates there to help sing his 2021 song, “Let’s Change the World.” After pressing a button on his laptop to send his message of “peace and love” to the International Space Station, Ringo told the crowd of family and friends: “I wanted to be a musician from when I was 13,” he laughed. “And you know, it really paid off.”

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Now that the All-Starr tour is back on track, hopefully without further interruptions, the band is at full tilt.

“It’s special to come back to this after missing so much touring,” says Lukather.

Men at Work founder Colin Hay, who sings three of his own group’s most popular songs with the All-Starr Band (including 1983′s Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper “Down Under” and follow-up “Overkill”) agrees that listeners are relishing the live music experience as the pandemic takes on yet another phase.

Credit: Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP

Credit: Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP

Hay says both his solo tour earlier this year in support of his album, “Now and the Evermore” (with Starr drums on the title track) and the dates with the All-Starrs are met with enthusiasm.

“The [audience] bought tickets three years ago and had kept them for three years,” he says. “People were very, very happy to be there!”

The All-Starrs’ setlist features Starr’s “Photograph,” Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” and The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends” — songs that form a bridge between ages at a moment in time when music is bringing the past to the present again.

The Atlantic magazine reported earlier this year that old songs now make up 70% of the U.S. music market. With streaming platforms and TV shows, younger audiences are discovering the catalogs of the Beatles as well as acts like Toto (featured on the “Stranger Things” soundtrack) and Men at Work (sung on the “The Masked Singer”).

Hay says the All-Starr band was decades ahead of the curve in putting together a revue that crosses so many eras in music — with Starr as the linchpin, out front and behind the drum kit. “He plays like nobody else … and as Greg Bissonette says, Ringo has that swing that no one else has. I love the Beatles’ music as so many people do. And all the drum parts were always a feature, an integral part of the songs, which is quite rare, you know?”

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s archives, it took more than 150 policemen to curb the crowd at the former Atlanta Stadium when the Beatles played there in the summer of 1965, and even then, a fan made off with the limo’s radio antenna as Ringo ducked his head into the black stretch with John, Paul and George before the car sped off at 40 m.p.h.

This Monday’s rock ‘n’ roll rave-up at Cobb Energy Centre may get folks out of their seats to dance, but Ringo likely won’t need a getaway car. We’ll all be chasing the music together.


Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band

8 p.m. Sept. 19. Sold out. Resale tickets available on Ticketmaster.com. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2852, cobbenergycentre.com.