Ringo re­turns to Ve­gas for eight shows this month


Rfirst Ve­gas gig with his Al­lS­tarr Band was served along with dessert at the old Cir­cus Max­imus Show­room at Cae­sars Palace.

“We were play­ing, and it was like ev­ery­one in the crowd had just fin­ished eat­ing din­ner or some­thing,” Starr says, re­mem­ber­ing an Aug.

30, 1989, per­for­mance at the clas­si­cally ap­pointed show­room that was home to Frank Si­na­tra, Sammy Davis Jr., and sev­eral other Strip leg­ends. “I re­mem­ber them sit­ting in ban­quettes with th­ese re­ally high backs, around ta­bles. It was a very un­usual place for a rock band to be play­ing.”

Starr has played sev­eral Ve­gas venues over the years, in­clud­ing the old Joint at the Hard Rock Ho­tel, the Rio Pavil­ion, Man­dalay Bay Beach, Pearl at the Palms and Reynolds Hall at the Smith Cen­ter. He and the All-starr Band open an eight-show ex­tended en­gage­ment Fri­day night at the Planet Hol­ly­wood Show­room.

Starr, re­mark­ably fit at dou­ble-7s (77), chuck­les at hear­ing that list. “The deal is, wher­ever we’ve played is good, be­cause we’re there play­ing. It has to be good, right?” His cur­rent lineup has been to­gether for five years: Todd Rund­gren, Gregg Rolie of San­tana and Jour­ney, Steve Lukather of Toto, Richard Page of Mis­ter Mis­ter, War­ren Ham of Olivia New­ton-john’s band and Gregg Bis­sonette of San­tana.

More from a post-re­hearsal chat in Ringo’s dress­ing room:

I have to ask how it feels to be open­ing in Las Ve­gas when we have had this ter­ri­ble shoot­ing and up­heaval in our city?

“I came in, ac­tu­ally, on Oc­to­ber 2nd, the day af­ter it hap­pened. I could feel it. The vibe, un­der­stand­ably, was very low. It was dread­ful, for all those lives that have been lost. What else can you say? It’s just un­fath­omable to me. I am just here to bring the mood up any way I can and don’t let it com­pletely con­trol our lives.”

You’ve ob­vi­ously played many types of venues, and in the mid-60s, dur­ing Bea­tles tours, there were dis­turb­ing threats against the band. Have you ever felt un­safe on­stage?

“No, I never have. When I’m on­stage, I feel only peace and love.”

We talked, years ago, about your Ve­gas show be­ing called the Golden Drums, af­ter El­ton John’s “Red Piano” play­ing at Cae­sars at the time.

“Yes! That was it, the Golden Drums, like El­ton’s show, and it’s come up again and again. ”

Over the years, we’ve had many rock bands per­form th­ese ex­tended en­gage­ments in Las Ve­gas. Did that trend en­cour­age you to pur­sue your own res­i­dency here?

“Ve­gas is so great, and it’s hot for bands do­ing this right now. A lot of artists are do­ing this. Mu­si­cally, Ve­gas is up. At­trac­tive to the artists, I can play here Tues­day, Fri­day and Satur­day and get to know what this city is like Tues­day. There are things go­ing on Tues­day?”

Yes. Ev­ery night it’s some­thing. You played the Smith Cen­ter on a Sun­day night last year, I be­lieve.

“So, yeah, ev­ery time I have ever been to Ve­gas — in­clud­ing in 1964 when we played here — I get off a plane and go right to the Strip. Ev­ery time. Then last year we go to the per­form­ing arts cen­ter, and that was even cra­zier. I had no idea how big Las Ve­gas was! There is a whole world hap­pen­ing out there in Ve­gas! No one told me this! It was far out. We had a great time.”

Is this en­gage­ment set­ting up an­other run in Las Ve­gas next year? And would the band be OK with re­turn­ing?

“I can’t say right now be­cause I don’t know. I’ve got 14 more dates on tour af­ter th­ese shows. But how it works is, I de­cide to play Las Ve­gas, and if the band can do it, they’ll do it. There are lots of peo­ple in the All-starrs, and lots of oth­ers who want to be in the All-starrs, so it’s not nec­es­sar­ily this band I’d be bring­ing if I did come back.”

You know, The Who played at Cae­sars, where Cir­cus Max­imus used to be.

“Ah! See? We cre­ated the vibe. We brought the rock and roll vibe to the Strip.”

John Katsilometes’ col­umn runs daily in the A sec­tion. Con­tact him at jkat­silometes@ re­viewjour­nal.com. Fol­low @john­nykats on Twit­ter, @ John­nykats1 on In­sta­gram.

Ja­son Ogul­nik

Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal Ringo Starr and his wife, Bar­bara Bach, pose dur­ing a red car­pet event July 14, 2016, at The Mi­rage to cel­e­brate the 10th an­niver­sary of Cirque du Soleil’s The Bea­tles LOVE.

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