Ringo Starr turned 70 years old on Wednesday, and he brought the party (and plenty of “peace and love”) to New York as he performed to a sold-out audience in Radio City Music Hall.
Thousands of attendees waved banners sending Ringo their love, and he even received a birthday cake on his drum set, but the greatest gift — Ringo’s sole surviving bandmate – Paul McCartney, later appeared during the encore when he led the band in the Beatles’ “Birthday.” Following the song, the two reunited with a warm embrace. It was a historical moment for die-hard Beatles fans, and the perfect end to a musically remarkable, rocking celebration.
Accompanied by his new instrumentalists – the All Starr Band – Ringo had everyone clapping, head-bopping, swaying and on their feet throughout the night. He performed many songs from his January 2010 album, “Y Not,” including “Photograph,” “Peace Dream,” and “The Other Side of Liverpool.”
Ringo proved that he is still a strong drummer, laying down the beat as his bandmates, including Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Richard Page and Gary Wright took center stage. Each member proved his own talent and ability to entertain, adding to the musical sophistication of the night.
Nostalgia permeated the theater as Ringo performed some Beatles favorites – “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Boys,” “Act Naturally,” and “Yellow Submarine.” Later, Ringo introduced the finale song, one that he said he intended to remove from his set because it failed to please the crowd. In typical Ringo fashion, he was being sarcastic, because the song was “With a Little Help From My Friends,” his old Beatles hit. Not a single person in the theater remained seated.
True to the name of the song, Ringo received a little help from his musical friends during the finale. The brightly colored, psychedelic stage filled up with stars such as Yoko Ono, Joe Walsh, Steve Van Zandt, Angus Young and Mike Weinberg.
Another striking aspect of the show was the diverse audience. From the “Baby Boomers” to the teenagers, the attendees reminisced, experienced for the first time, and overall enjoyed seeing the former Beatle onstage. Many were clad in Beatles t-shirts, some repeatedly yelled Ringo’s name, and others waved peace signs in the air. It was one of those rare events with the potential to bring generations of people together.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 46 years since the Beatles first landed in New York and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. Ringo’s performance — and Paul’s guest appearance – are proof that the Beatles are timeless, a legend whose music will live on for generations to come.