One thing was very noticeable the moment Steve Lukather of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band kicked off “Matchbox” at their show in San Jose, Calif., on July 13. They really are a “band” now.
The current group, composed of Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Richard Page, Gregg Rolie and Gregg Bissonette (with Warren Ham replacing Mark Rivera), are now veterans of several tours together and jell musically onstage like they know each other well. It makes for a great evening of music.
Of course, the main reason is Ringo Starr, who moves all over the stage continually and engages the crowd by talking and pointing at them. Two energetic older fans on the left hand side caught his attention more than once. He has a quick sense of humor as well. When one man yelled out, “Ringo, my wife loves you,” he answered back without hesitation, “So does mine!”
The show took place in a different venue than in recent years when they played at a winery in Saratoga. This year, it was the City National Civic, formerly known as the San Jose Civic Auditorium, located right in downtown San Jose. The venerable venue, which has been remodeled on the outside, has hosted music shows of various types for decades. Pictures on the wall show the Who, the Rolling Stones and Santana, who got their start in San Jose, among those who have played there in the past. The band seemed to like the new venue, too. Steve Lukather remarked about it onstage.
There was lots of good music. Two standouts were “Evil Ways' and “Oye Como Va,” on which the band stretched out. On “Don't Pass Me By,” on which Ringo started out the song on keyboards, and then the band went into a particularly rocking version of the song.
Unlike Paul McCartney who generally springs one or two different songs in his program every show, Ringo's set list stays the same. Here's the full set list from San Jose: “Matchbox”; “It Don't Come Easy”; “Wings” (all Ringo); “I Saw the Light” (Todd Rundgren); “Evil Ways” (Gregg Rolie); “Rosanna” (Steve Lukather); “Kyrie” (Richard Page); “Don't Pass Me By” (Ringo) and “Bang the Drum All Day” (Rundgren).
Next, there was “Boys”; “Yellow Submarine” (both Ringo); “Black Magic Woman” (Rolie); “Anthem” (Ringo); “You Are Mine” (Page); “Honey Don't” (Ringo); “Africa” (Lukather); “Oye Como Va” (Rolie); “I Wanna Be Your Man” (Ringo); “Love Is the Answer” (Rundgren); “Broken Wings” (Page); “Act Naturally” (Ringo); “Hold the Line” (Lukather); “Photograph”; “With a Little Help from My Friends”/“Give Peace a Chance” (all Ringo).