Luke, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Greg Rolie (Santana/Journey) and Mark Rivera (Ringo MD) resonated those same sentiments. A slightly teary eyed Steve Lukather told his hometown crowd "I'm trippin' out! This is the best summer EVER! I'm going to cry." About Ringo he called him "the best boss ever!" The Beatles are the reason I play guitar." Ringo said "I love the Greek Theatre. I love Los Angeles. No one has as much fun as I do!"
Luke brought his game up another notch in front of family, fans and many, many friends. He acknowledged David Paich and Steve Porcaro from Toto as he pointed to them in the crowd and dedicated the Toto song 'Rosanna' to them. Also sitting on Luke's side was his son Trevor as were Steve Weingart and Renee Jones from Luke's solo band. Among others in the musician heavy crowd were Edgar Winter (Ringo '06, '10/'11), Gary Wright (Ringo '08, '10/'11), Joe Walsh (Eagles Ringo '89/'92), Peter Frampton (Ringo '87/'88), Jeff Lynne (ELO, Ringo Producer), Mickey Dolenz (Monkees), Matt Sorum (Guns 'n' Roses/Velvet Revolver), Bobby Blotzer (Ratt), CJ Vanston (Luke Producer, Spinal Tap) Tal Wikenfeld (Luke/Jeff Beck) and actress Sally Kellerman. Luke mesmerized the L.A. crowd especially on the Santana songs 'Evil Ways' and 'Black Magic Woman' again. I didn't think his playing that I witnessed in Nashville during the DVD taping/Ringo Birthday Bash could have been topped. But Luke was so pumped up in front of his crowd and boss that he outdid himself. Greg Rolie the original lead singer of the two aforementioned Santana FM radio smashes earned the nickname of "Duke" on this Tour. So it became the Luke and Duke show. Chants of Luuuuuuuke rang out throughout the night. Even Ringo joined in on the shouts!
Ringo was a jack of all trades tonight and every night on this fun filled Tour. Ringo was a Master of Ceremonies, comedian, storyteller, keyboardist, singer, of course drummer and even played the cajon. Since Ringo is all over the stage in so many capacities his overlooked drumming skills get even more overlooked. During the night on various songs he sits next to drummer extraordinaire Greg Bissonette (David Lee Roth/ELO/Toto) and matches him hit for hit on his kit. It was almost like watching a drummer sitting next to a mirror. Seeing Ringo and Bissonette side by side was a drummers dream come true. Bissonette had played with Toto replacing Simon Phillips for a short period of time so he was very familiar with the Toto songs that would be played throughout the night. Bissonette also has played with Luke in various forms so he is even more familiar with him than the other cats in the All-Starrs.
The concept of the Ringo Starr All-Starr band is sheer genius. Of course Ringo and Beatles songs are played but to play in Ringo's band you have to not only be a top notch musician and singer but also have "the songs" as Ringo puts it. So Ringo chooses his band based on ALL of these factors. Each member gets to showcase the songs he's most famous for. This was never more evident than when Richard Page sang the Mr. Mister hit "Broken Wings". Page's angelic voice resonated throughout the majestic wooded Greek Theatre and its surroundings. Adding the All-Starrs to this song made this an epic number. This showcased every All-Starrs talent. Page said to the crowd about being in Ringo's band "to be with the legendary one is quite an honor". There were big hugs after this number between Luke and Ringo. Once again you could see the joy in Luke as he couldn't have wanted to be anywhere else in the World other than playing in Ringo's band at the Greek in front of his family and friends.
When the All-Starrs broke into Toto's "Africa" Luke once again acknowledged his Toto band mates. He introduced it by saying "written by David Paich and my brother Jeff Porcaro. It's time to party!" Looking over from time to time I saw Paich enjoying himself singing and grooving to the night's music. Later when Luke ripped into "Hold the Line" he had the crowd on it's feet again. They were on their feet for all three Toto hits. Not to be forgotten on the Toto songs were the fantastic vocals of Page and Ringo Musical Director Mark Rivera. Rivera is the longest tenured All-Starr who's been the glue that holds this band together for years. He is a multi-instrumentalist who put his magic touch on the Toto hits with his golden saxophone.
As he had done in Nashville Joe Walsh came out on stage to help out his brother in law Ringo. Walsh energized an already ecstatic crowd by striking the instantly recognizable chords on "Rocky Mountain Way". As he was in Nashville too Luke was all smiles watching his friend Walsh switch back and forth between slide and talking box guitar. Seeing Luke all smiles again reminded me of the time I was hanging out with him at the Gibson Amphitheatre right up the road for a James Gang gig. Not only is Luke a true friend of Walsh he is a huge fan too.
The night and Tour ended with the familiar "With a Little Help From my Friends/Give Peace a Chance" celebrity chorus. This night it consisted of Walsh, Dolenz, Frampton, Wright, Sorum, Lynne, Winter, along with original Ringo All-Starr drummer Jim Keltner. Keltner made it five All-Starr alums with two originals including Walsh. Luke joked earlier in the night "Ringo told me he was only accepting one more friend in his life and it was me!" There were a few tears during the night but it was mostly laughs, smiles and hugs as it was another unforgettable night.
After the show Luke told me: "It was a very emotional end to the best summer of my life. Such joy and all the good things about Rock 'n' roll. I mean Ringo and his people KNOW how to throw a tour for sure! Lol.
My Toto bro's Paich and Steve P were there as were so many other friends and family. It was deep and a packed house in LA with a great crowd. The Greek was a great venue for our last show. Hometown and all. The Finale of " Little Help" was an emotional moment with quite a few surprises on stage.
I am hoping we can do some more down the line but the one thing I do know is that these friendships, on stage and behind the scenes are very real and will last a lifetime and I am very thankful for this most wonderful experience.
Ringo you RULE"!
Stevelukather.com, July 21st 2012