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- Posted on Jul 8th 2010 11:15AM by Gaylord Fields
All Ringo Starr asked for as a 70th birthday gift on July 7 was "peace and love" from all his fans around the world. However, he was the one who delivered a big birthday surprise to the wildly cheering attendees at his celebratory concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York when Paul McCartney joined the legendary Beatles drummer onstage, fronting Ringo's All-Starr Band for a joyous encore appropriately consisting of the Fab Four's 'Birthday.' Sir Paul, clad in a tight black suit and skinny tie right out of 1964, waggled his iconic Höfner bass in time while delivering his full-throated take on the song. Starr merrily bashed away behind him on his kit alongside his drummer son Zak Starkey, with Joe Walsh joining in to supply guitar pyrotechnics.
This feat was the once-in-a-lifetime capper to a two-hour set of Starr-sung Beatles and solo favorites that concluded with many of Starr's musical mates from the world of rock raising their voices for an equally appropriate singalong to 'With a Little Help From My Friends,' which segued into a chorus of 'Give Peace a Chance.' The helpful friends who assembled onstage included Yoko Ono, AC/DC's Angus Young, Jeff Lynne, Steven Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and Foreigner's Mick Jones.
During the Ringo-centric portion of the event, the always affable Starr, looking more fit than any pensioner rightly should, betrayed not a year of his 70 on Earth by anchoring a set brimming with Ringo-sung Fab Four faves including 'I Wanna Be Your Man' and 'Act Naturally,' along with '70s solo hits including 'It Don't Come Easy' and 'Photograph.' He also performed a few recent songs from his still-active recording career, such as his peace-and-love anthems 'Choose Love' and 'Peace Dream.'
Always willing to literally sit back and just enjoy himself on his drum kit, Starr ceded a decent amount of frontman time to the capable members of this, his 11th All-Starr Band. For this summer tour of the US, the boys in the band include guitar hero Rick Derringer, Gary 'Dream Weaver' Wright, Wally Palmar of the Romantics and Mr. Mister's Richard Page, along with Edgar Winter, who supplied the biggest non-Beatles moment of the night with his triple-play round robin of saxophone, percussion and keytar on a high-octane take of his 1973 No. 1 hit 'Frankenstein.'
"I'm still a musician, and it's the dream from when I was 13 – to be a drummer and to play with good players," Starr told Spinner in an interview days before the show in regard to his formation of his All-Starr Band. "I'm in the front, but then I can get back on my drums and play with all of these other great musicians."
This is almost definitely the first time Starr and McCartney have played 'Birthday' together since it was recorded for the White Album in 1968, as the Beatles had stopped performing live at that point. Curiously, a third person onstage during the proceedings who was on the original recording could have joined the duo and conceivably made it an even bigger reunion: Yoko Ono supplied backing vocals on the White Album track.